Vegetarian Chili – The Sandy Seven

Oh Sandy… you came and you rained and you flooded.  You nearly swept us away! Oh Sandy. (Don’t worry…the second verse is on the way).

Like thousands of other people along the East Coast, much of Sunday and Monday were spent bracing ourselves for the storm. Hailing from the once hurricane safe state of Pennsylvania, I had never actually experienced a hurricane before and was determined to have the most authentic of hurricane experiences. I wasn’t sure whether to be scared or excited, but after seeing the ruthless crowds at Trader Joe’s I was a little of both. Tensions ran high as the rice chip supply quickly vanished from the shelves, and don’t even THINK about grabbing for the same shelved milk or granola bar. One thing was for sure… if people were going to be stuck inside it certainly wouldn’t be food and wine. And as it turns out, when there are 70 mph winds blowing and the sirens going off every few minutes, there isn’t much to do except watch Homeland and pack on what I have heard affectionately called The Sandy Seven.

Here in Brooklyn, we may not have been hit as bad as others but we definitely ate like we were. Taking a cue from my hurricane veteran friends, I followed hurricane protocol and made it a big pot of vegetarian chili. It’s the perfect meal for those days when the chill is in your bones and you need to be warmed from the inside out. Hot, in both taste and temperature, this chili is a Kagan family classic. It’s SUPER simple to make as it mostly involves opening a few cans, and is also very forgiving depending on what beans you have on hand. It’s hearty and exceptionally figure friendly, making it the perfect compliment to the three different batches of cookies we also managed to consume. Serve this chili with avocado, cheese, chips, or sweet potato fries like I did and you won’t mind being stuck inside one bit.

Vegetarian Chili

1/2 c. dried bulgur

1 c. of water

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 red pepper, chopped

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 14 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained (I used chickpeas this time because it was all I had… still delicious)

2 c. corn (fresh or frozen)

3 T chili powder

1/2 t. oregano

1/2 t. cumin

1/4-1/2 t. cayenne pepper

S&P

In a saucepan, combine bulgur with 1 cup of water. Let it come to a boil, reduce heat and cover until all the liquid is absorbed (15-ish minutes).

In a pot, saute onion, garlic, and red pepper in a smidge of olive oil until tender. Add the crushed tomatoes, beans, corn, and spices. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the cooked bulgur. Let this simmer for another 10 minutes or so and enjoy!

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*As I am super lazy with dishes, I am experimenting with cooking the bulgur directing into the same pot as the chili. I think it would come after the onion, garlic, and pepper and I was also through all the spices in with the uncooked bulgur to help them infuse into the dish a little. Again… this is untested. If you try it… let me know!

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