Hello friends! I’ve only been away 3 days but it feels like longer. The snow day in the middle of the week totally threw off my schedule work-wise and blog-wise. I’m back though and eager to share with you a recipe plus one of my favorite ways of re-purposing leftovers!
In the summer of 2008, prior to starting law school, I spent some time living with a local family in Boquete, Panama. One night my host mom wanted to cook something together and I suggested chili (something they had never heard of!).
Vegetarian chili is a total vegan staple, is it not? It’s cheap to make, it is a total canvas for whatever you have in your kitchen, and I love that it makes such a large amount because there is so much you can do with the end result. So, we made chili, and everyone really liked it. The day before I was to return to the U.S. (via Bocas del Toro…Bocas es loca!), my host mom asked me to write down my recipe.
I was kind of at a loss because in my mind, chili doesn’t need a recipe. You just wing it with whatever you have, which makes every batch of chili slightly unique. Obviously I did my best to give her a “recipe” that replicated what we’d had for dinner that one night, but I secretly hoped she would understand that it was more of a “method” and she didn’t have to follow it step-by-step.
Fast forward 5 1/2 years (has it really been that long?!) and I actually have developed a “recipe” for chili that I adhere to somewhat closely nowadays because it is so damn delicious that I don’t want to change it. Since I was home all day on Wednesday I decided to use the time to make a big old pot of it.
Hearty Chipotle Chili
Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free option
Yield: 10-12 cups
1 tbsp. olive oil OR water/broth (just enough water to thinly line the bottom of the pot)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 cans (or about 6 cups) beans of choice–my favorite combo is 2 cans (3 cups) black, 1 can (1.5 cups) kidney, and 1 can (1.5 cups) chickpeas
1 cup frozen corn
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can of tomato sauce
¼ cup water
1 tbsp. finely chopped chipotle in adobo
2 tsp. adobo sauce (omit to make it less spicy)
½ tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder (use chipotle chili powder for even more heat and flavor!)
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (omit to make it less spicy)
Generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. sliced baby portabella mushrooms (optional)
Salt to taste
In a large stockpot, warm olive oil or water. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5-7 minutes until tender. Add pepper and saute 2-3 minutes more.
Add beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce if using, oregano, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes if using, and black pepper. Stir well to combine, bring mixture just to a boil, then cover and let simmer for about 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. [If using mushrooms, add them about 10-15 minutes before the end of cooking time, stir well, then cover pot and continue to heat until they’ve cooked down.]
Taste and add salt and other spices as needed. Serve with cornbread, on top of rice or baked potato, or with tortilla chips!
As chili recipes are wont to do, the one above makes a ton of leftovers. You can freeze some, obviously, but one of my favorite ways to use leftover chili is in a dish I call Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie, which has the added bonus of utilizing another common leftover, mashed potatoes.
Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie
Vegan, gluten-free, can be soy- and oil-free (depending on how your mashed potatoes are prepared)
What You Need
3-4 cups leftover Hearty Chipotle Chili
3-4 cups mashed potatoes (the ones in the picture are red bliss)
4-6 ramekins or small glass containers (such as Pyrex) OR a 9 x 13 glass or casserole dish
Preheat the oven to 400F. Add your leftover chili to whatever baking vessels you are using and top with mashed potatoes. If using a 9 x 13 baking, you may want to lightly spray or oil the dish before adding the ingredients (I find this is unnecessary when using the littler guys for whatever reason).
Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until potatoes have a golden crust. Add whatever toppings you like! Diced avocado, or a tablespoon of chopped green onions or cilantro are great choices.
What are some other ways to use leftover chili and/or mashed potatoes?
Have a great weekend!!!