Speedy Veggie Chili
I’ve really been into whipping up this veggie chili lately, especially on the nights when no one in the family knows what to have for dinner. It usually starts out with the misses and I bouncing dinner ideas back and forth, then it’ll go silent for a minute or two. I’ll come out with the quick “veggie chili?” I get the “sure!”, then off to the pantry I go.
I love this chili for many reasons. The first and foremost being that it’s chili…I ADORE chili, and even more so, specialty chilis. I’ll eat any and all chili that’s put in front of me but a chili that has something different about it is the one that will appeal to me. Like this veggie chili, or some white chili or con carne. Those are the ones I get excited about.
Meet the Flavor, Without the Meat
Another reason this veggie chili has become one of my favorites is how easy it is to build flavor even without the meat. Of course, the house I was raise in would probably fall to the ground if my grandparents found me cooking a pot of chili without meat in it. I feel I may be able to sway them with the flavor in this one though, even without the meat. Granted, I did use Better than Bouillon Beef Broth Base in the chili, so I can’t call it entirely vegetable. You could most definitely use vegetable stock or broth if you have it available and still build some really complex flavors.
Roux the Day
To me, the flavor was really boosted from creating a roux of sorts with your starting veggies, some tomato paste, and the dry seasonings. By doing this, and keeping your pan nice and hot, your mixture will heat up quick and you’ll start to see some little brown bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and that’s what you want!! Of course, you don’t want to burn that, so after a minute or two you’ll want to deglaze that pan with a little of your broth of choice. Don’t turn the heat down, add about a quarter of a cup of your broth and when it starts to sizzle, scrape the bottom of your pan to loosen up the brown bits stuck to the bottom. That’s where your flavor lies.
The rest of the construction is pretty standard as far as chilis go, but expedited to be able to be made in a pinch with canned diced tomatoes and canned beans. I also added a few sweet potatoes and a can of corn to bring some sweetness to offset all of the spices. Sweet potatoes play very well in chili. They seem to thicken it up a little when you throw them in raw and let them cook with everything else. The corn also helped the texture by giving a little crunch amidst all of the beans and potatoes.
Finally, I used beef broth to thin out the chili and make it go a little further. I can’t recommend the Better that Bouillon Broth Base enough. I’ve had mine in the fridge and have been using it for quite sometimes. I’ve only used the beef, however, so that’s the only one I can really speak to. I make my own chicken and vegetable stock. I don’t cook as many bigger cuts of beef, so I don’t have the opportunities to make beef stock like I do chicken and veggie. The broth that it makes is dynamite. I’ve drank a nice hot cup of it when I’m craving something hot and savory. It’s good loads of flavor without being overtly salty. Plus, it keeps for months in the fridge. MONTHS. That’s huge…
Grab some here and start being able to have beef broth whenever the heck you want it: Beef Better than Bouillon Base
That’s about it for the chili. Don’t forget to make this dish your own. I know everyone seems to have a very set number and kinds of spices that they put in their chili, so feel free to adapt! I think that the ease of customizing chili is why it remains to be one of my favorite dishes to throw together. It’s a little different every time. If you make it, let me know how it turns out and any changes you’ve made!
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (or other color of choice)
- 1-2 minced fresh jalapenos (depending on desired heat)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
- 3 cans of beans of choice (I used black, pinto, and great northern) drained, rinsed
- 1 can sweet corn, drained
- 2 cans diced tomatoes with liquid
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 6 cups broth of choice (I used beef)
- 3-4 tbsp chili powder, to taste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- olive oil
- salt,pepper, and other spices of choice
- In a large pot or saucepan, heat 5 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the onion, bell peppers and jalapenos. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes or so.
- Add the tomato paste along with the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir very well to combine and cook continuing to stir for 5 minutes. Mixture should start to seem dry and stick to the pan.
- De-glaze the pan with a quarter cup of the broth you’ve chosen. Stir it in and scrap the bottom of the pan to loosen up any browned bits.
- Add the cans of tomatoes with their liquid and the broth you’ve chosen. Give it a good stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Add in the sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add in all of your chosen beans and/or corn. Stir to combine and simmer over medium low heat for another 10 minutes, or as long as you like until serving. (The longer you simmer, the better)
- Serve! This reheats amazingly and is renowned to be better for leftovers!