Monday, September 22, 2014

Vegetarian Potato and Bean Chili with Bourbon and Red Wine

Seth had a birthday this past Saturday and I made him the most delicious chili, even if I do say so myself. We're still very much on the wagon when it comes to monitoring calories. We also have Ember Days coming up this week and will need to go meatless over more than just our usual Friday. That said, we decided to make a vegetarian chili so that we could eat the leftovers throughout the week without breaking our abstinence. My photo really doesn't do this dish justice. Really, it was very good and even better as leftovers the next day. Any chili lover would like this. 

We really tend to fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to deciding what a given dish is going to consist of. As I've mentioned in the past, I really don't follow recipes per se and neither does Seth, We both enjoy mixing things up and trying new flavor combinations. When it comes to something like chili, what goes in it is totally going to depend on what looks good at the grocery store. This time, we liked the looks of the red jalapenos and the red bell peppers. There were also these really cute tri-colored potatoes that Seth wanted to try, so they went in there, too.

  • 1 bag dried black beans
  • 1 bag dried red kidney beans
  • 2 large carrots 
  • 1 small bag tri-colored baby potatoes
  • 2 medium-sized red onions
  • 2 red jalapenos
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Jim Beam bourbon
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
I don't soak my beans first, but you can if you want to. You can also add or subtract any ingredients you want. As I said, the above list was a combination of things we already had around and things that just looked good at the store. That really is how we do things! Just combine all of these ingredients in a large roasting pan with a lid or a Dutch oven. Add water or broth until the ingredients are covered. Put the lid on and let it simmer away in the oven for a while. Start it at about 425 and then turn the temperature down to 325 or so once it's bubbling. I reduced the temp on mine after the first hour or so.

Ours took about four hours or so. Every hour, we pulled the pot out, stirred it, and added more water if necessary. Once it got to a certain point, we started tasting it to see what else (if anything) it needed. Always taste your food, people. Always! Especially when it comes to something with lots of different ingredients like chili. 

Since it was a birthday, we decided we'd have some burgers with our chili. These were grass-fed beef ones on English muffins. As usual, we chose ingredients with care and portioned out the meal properly. If memory serves, this cheeseburger and a small bowl of the chili was only 450 calories or so. Really can't beat that! We wound up eating the same thing for dinner as kind of an encore the next night because it was so good and reasonable calorie-wise. I still wound up getting on the scale this morning and discovering I lost another two pounds.

In some ways, I almost feel bad that losing weight over the last three months was the cake walk that it was. I can definitely tell you from personal experience that the diet and fitness industries are telling you a pack of lies when they say that successful, low-calorie eating means eating food that doesn't taste good or fill you up (unless you buy their branded, over-priced specialty products, that is). 

Don't buy into those silly gimmicks. You can do it all by yourself. You don't have to spend a lot of money you don't really have and you can absolutely still have your chilis and your cheeseburgers, but wind up losing weight anyway. Just get real with yourself about how many calories are in different options and choose wisely. Cooking at home for yourself so that you know what is and isn't in your food is a big help! That's honestly all we've done and it's been a great experience. 
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