Wow. This was an eye-opener.
It made me realize how busy I really am. Getting off work late on Saturday night made me completely forget to soak the Christmas Limas and Black-Eyed Peas, so this chili is a lovely, lentil-laden version of the winter staple. I also had a gig at 4pm yesterday, so I couldn’t linger in the kitchen like I usually do on Sunday afternoons. I had to work fast!
So, I started by chopping veggies. One red onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 rib of celery, 2 bell peppers, and 2 carrots. I then combined the garlic with cumin, paprika, smoked paprika, salt and ground black pepper – 1 tablespoon of each. To this, I added a teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and dry mustard, plus 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I schmooged it all together until it was a fairly cohesive blob, adding olive oil to help this happen.
In my pre-heated dutch oven, I sautéed this mass until it became mildly fragrant, which happened FAST! I then added all the veggies and the dry lentils, and coated them with this spice mixture. Once they were well-incorporated and the vegetables had begun to brown, I stole a can of Stella Artois from The Boyfriend’s stash, and used it to deglaze the pan. It only required about half the can, but I saved the last of it for the turkey version I’d made for him.
Once all the veggies had softened and the beer had been reduced to almost nothing, I added the cooked lentils, the can of tomatoes, and diced jalapeno to the mix. At this point, I checked the clock and realized how much more cooking I still had to do before going to the gig!
I put the chilis on the back burners, on uber-low heat, to simmer away. I’d put a spaghetti squash in the oven to roast for an hour while I was working on the chili project, and it was ready to come out at this point. I set that aside to cool while I whipped up a quick marinara sauce. I’d figured, as long as I was buying canned tomatoes, I might as well do something else with them!
If you’re familiar with using spaghetti squash, you know it has a HUGE yield. It’s forced me to create lots of different ways of cooking with it. Next week, you’ll see the results of this squash-fest. But, until then, pass the diced onions, cilantro, “cheese” shreds and hot sauce. I’m in chili town!
If this has gotten you in the mood for food, remember, Farmer’s Market Frugal is still available on Amazon, at its new, lower price! If you need a last-minute gift or a post-holiday detox diet (Part II of the book), go get it!
Do you have a favorite chili recipe? Let me know in the comments below. And, if you like this, share it! Even my carniverous Boyfriend (who claims to hate lentils) loved this recipe!
Until next week, have a delicious day!!