Chili Poblano Sin Carne

How to lose a chili cookoff: Compete against a professional chef, prepare the only vegetarian entry and don’t allow garnishes during the taste tests.

Two perks to losing a chili cookoff this way: Any vegetarians in attendance love you. Several dedicated carnivores will say, “You’re kidding, there’s no meat in that?”

I think I find the latter more flattering. Even more flattering is when one of them votes for you, then reneges his vote because his wife has an entry as well. No need to cause marital strife; after all, it’s the thought that counts.

Really it’s much nicer with a garnish. And get your roomie to make cornbread and buy some Negro Modelo:

Chili Poblano Sin Carne

Uno:
1 pkg Smart Ground
1 1/2 cups chopped shitake mushrooms
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 ts ground cumin
olive oil
1 cup dry red wine

Sautee the Smart Ground, mushrooms and onion for half a minute or so, then add the cumin. Keep adding olive oil as needed, the fake meat soaks it up pretty readily. Once the onions start to carmelize a little, reduce the heat and add the wine. Reduce slowly for half an hour or so.

Dos:
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can crushed tomato (16 oz)
2 can tomato paste (6 oz)
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 ts dry rosemary
1 tbs oregano leaves, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tbs Vegeta
1 tbs ground ancho
1/2 tab Abuelita
2 tbs olive oil

While reducing the wine, prepare the bulk of the chili in a large pot. Bring everything to a boil, then down to a simmer. Stir regularly, this is the easy part. I like to get a little violent with the beans at times to get some to split.

Tres:
1/4 ts Ground Nutmeg
1/3 ts Ground Cinnamon
1 ts Ginger, grated
2 can (8 oz) Chipotles in Adobo
1/2 tab Abuelita
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup peanuts
2 ts sweet soy sauce
1 tbs instant coffee
2 tbs mango juice

I recommend preparing this part in a separate sauce pan until you learn to gauge the desired spice level. Simply puree everything in a food processor, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 min. You can always add this simple mole to other items later (enchiladas anyone?) if you don’t use it all. You can also add extra to the servings of any spice freaks in attendance.

When everything is done, just mix together and simmer until you think its ready. I like to wait half an hour or so for everything to thicken a bit, but really that’s personal taste.

Adorno:
Heirloom tomatoes, chopped
chopped cilantro
grated queso fresco

Supply for people to garnish their dishes with. Unless, of course, the event organizers ban such a thing, in which case you should give them what for…

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