My goal this week was to make a meatless chili with staples already in the house for lunches this week. Vegetarian or even vegan sounded good and so I set out to use beer as part of the flavor base. But I learned something new...not all beer is vegetarian...some producers add animal products such gelatin or isinglass in the process. I did a little research on my beer, Bell's Best Brown Ale, and found that this artisan producer, located near Kalamazoo, MI, doesn't use animal products in their production with the exception of 2 that they produce containing honey. So if you want this to be vegetarian - check out your beer!
about 6 to 8 servings
cups diced onion
diced green bell pepper
cloves minced garlic
ancho chili powder
crushed red pepper flakes
14 to 15 ounce cans tomatoes, chopped
1 to 2
12 ounce cans V8 or tomato juice
beer, preferably a brown ale
1 to 2 teaspoons
cooked white beans ( or two 14 to 15 ounce cans drained and rinsed)
quinoa simmered in 1 1/2 cups water for 10 to 15 minutes
In a soup pot or dutch oven saute the onions and bell pepper in the olive oil until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and saute another minute or two.
Stir in the cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and saute another minute or two.
Add the tomatoes, beer and one can of the tomato juice, bring up to the boil and gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste at this point and if the mixture seems to acidic, stir in some of the brown sugar.
Stir in the cooked beans and cooked quinoa and if the chili seems too thick, add some or all of that second can of tomato juice. Bring up to the boil and serve. You can certainly garnish with your favorite toppings - green onion, avocado, grated cheese, sour cream, etc.
Note: Make this early in the day or the day before serving for better flavor.
I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining.
My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!