Mushrooms are magical. No, not those kind of mushrooms. I’m talking about the regular ones.
Minced and cooked, these gems can stand in for meat, bringing an earthy, almost meaty flavor and texture that is way more authentic tasting than any processed soy granules. Healthier, too!
When I set out to make Chili last weekend, I searched the web and found numerous Vegetarian Chili recipes, and a few called for mushrooms. It was one of those ”Aha Moments”. I knew that instead of the bag of TVP in my cupboard that I’d had in mind, I’d be using the giant package of fresh mushrooms in my refrigerator.
Another component of many of the vegetarian chilis were vegetables not traditionally used for chili, like zuchinni and corn. But I wanted a chili that looked and tasted like real chili. So, I did what I do best…I adapted.
This recipe is loosely based on an Emeril Lagasse recipe for Vegetarian Chili, which can be found here.
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 large Onion
2 medium Bell Peppers – Red or Green
4-5 cloves Garlic
2 Serrano or Jalapeno Peppers
20 ounces fresh Mushrooms
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 tsp Cumin
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cayenne
1/4 tsp Pepper
3 large Tomatoes
2 – 15 oz cans beans – I used Red Kidney and Black
1 – 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
1 cup Water
What to do:
Prepare vegetables. First, chop onion.
Chop Bell Peppers.
Mince Serrano Pepper (remove seeds if you don’t like it very spicy) and Garlic. I used a food processor to get them very fine.
Chop Mushrooms into very small pieces (think burger meat size). Again, I used my food processor to make this job easy.
(Oops! No photo – sorry!)
Rinse and drain beans.
In a large stockpot, heat Canola Oil. Add Onions, Peppers, Serrano and Garlic and cook until onions start to become translucent.
Add Mushrooms to pot.
Cook for a few minutes, then add spices and stir for 30 seconds before adding tomato, beans, tomato sauce, and water.
Cook chili over medium heat, stirring often for about 20 30 minutes before serving.
Serve garnished with shredded cheese and sour cream (if desired), beside a hunk of Cornbread or Tortilla Chips.
This was so Yummy! The mushrooms really did a great job standing in for the burger meat. I never would have known the difference, except maybe for the lack of grease!
While were on the subject of mushrooms, have you ever seen a Fairy Ring? I had always been told that when you found a ring of mushrooms in the grass, you knew the fairies has been dancing there the night before.
See? Mushrooms really are magical.
We were out playing tennis at a nearby park one day last summer and as happens frequently with unskilled players like us, the ball kept going over the fence (never mind that the fence reaches practically to the sky, we somehow managed to still hit it out of bounds over and over again). During one ball retrieval trip, I spotted this ring of mushrooms and called everyone over to take a look. My friend snapped this photo, which I just love.
To learn more about fairy rings and their true cause, check it out here. I, however, am going to hang onto my belief that it really is a mark of the fairies’ recent visit.