03 November 2010

Lentil Chili

Since the weather had suddenly gotten cold here and I've had to pull out my winter biking gear for my daily commute, chili seemed like the perfect thing to help me defrost after the ride home from work. One of my favorite cooking magazines, Cuisine at Home, had a recipe for lentil chili which was practially vegan so it I thought it would be a good start to my Vegan MoFo. I will admit to being slightly sceptical of a lentil chili, thinking that chili had to include beans, but I was completely blown away at how delicious it was. Smoky and full of spice without being too hot, it was absolutely perfect with fresh hot corn muffins and even better for lunch the next day along with a hunk of fresh bread and avocado. You won't miss the beans- I promise. Recipe after the jump.

Lentil Chili
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
Serves 6-8 (extra portions freeze well)

1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and diced*
1/4 C./120ML tomato paste
1 T. chili powder
1 T. dried oregano
1 t. smoked paprika
1.5 T cumin
1 t. coriander
28oz/800g canned diced tomatoes
2 cans/22oz/600ml V8 (or substitute tomato juice)
3C/750ml hot water
2C/400g lentils, green, brown or red
lime wedges for serving
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

- Heat a medium-large pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and peppers; cook for 5 minutes until softened but not brown.

- Add the garlic, tomato paste and spices. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until tomato paste begins to darken. Add the diced tomatoes, V8, water and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to keep the pot at a simmer, partially cover and cook for 45 minutes, or until the lentils are done to your liking.

- Serve with lime wedges, your favorite garnishes and fresh hot corn bread.

*I always try a piece of raw jalapeno before I add it to a recipe as they can vary in heat. That way, if you happen to get a super spicy one, you don't accidentally make 5-alarm chili.