It's starting to feel more and more like Christmas, even here in Houston. I think the two-and-a-half years I've spent here have really spoiled me weather-wise, because I walked out the door the other day to 45-degree weather, and I felt the need to put on my coat. Around this time of year, I start craving things like a delicious cup of hot chocolate or a bowl of piping hot soup. Lately, I've really had a hankering for a big ol' bowl of chili, so I decided I'd make some today.
I have a few favorite chili recipes, including Azazello's incredible beer-based recipe and my mom's version, which includes elbow macaroni. But as of late, I've really been trying to cut down on my red meat consumption. Mainly for health reasons, I've been experimenting with preparing vegetarian meals at home and saving the meat (which, let's just be honest, I'm not going to give up) for when I eat out. So I searched the intertubes for a good vegetarian chili recipe, and I found one for "Zesty Wheat Berry-Black Bean Chili." Jesus, I didn't even know what a wheat berry was, but the picture just looked amazing, so I decided to go for it. And I was not disappointed, to say the least. The chili the recipe yielded is just as good and as filling as any meat-based chili I've ever had, if not better.
Follow me below the wheat berry for the recipe and food pr0n...
Here are the ingredients you'll need:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilThe first step is preparing the wheat berries. Let me back up. The first step is finding wheat berries. You may have to brave the Whole Foods parking lot. Watch, I'm probably the only person on Daily Kos who has never heard of a wheat berry.
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper,chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
2 14-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 cups Cooked Wheat Berries
Juice of 1 lime
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Anyway, now it's time to prepare the wheat berries. First, put them in a strainer and rinse them under cold water.
Then, put them in a small pot, along with 7 cups of cold water and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Heat it on the stove to boiling, and then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour. Drain the cooked wheat berries and set them aside.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, yellow bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
Stir it up.
Cook until tender, or about five minutes. At that point, add the black beans, diced tomatoes, chipotle pepper(s), vegetable broth, and brown sugar.
Stir it all up.
Bring it to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Now it's time to add the wheat berries.
At this point, Head Chef Zoe entered the kitchen to supervise her st00pid human's progress. All appears satisfactory.
Stir the wheat berries in and continue to heat the pot for about five more minutes, or until the wheat berries are heated through. Squeeze the lime into the pot and stir. Voi la!
Now, it's time to eat it up. You can garnish the bowl with the diced avocado and cilantro. Personally, I'm leaving the avocado and cilantro out (Sorry to disappoint you on the cilantro front, BeninSC...). I'm eating my chili over white rice, with a dollop of light sour cream. Mmm-mmm-mmm!
I'm telling you, this chili is to die for. If you're a meatless kind of eater--or even if you're not--this is the recipe for you.
Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate.
Finally, readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.