Chili el mole

Happy new year, Naked Vegan Lunchers!  I hope your holiday season was as delightful and full of ridiculous amounts of grub as mine was.  I am very fortunate to be part of several families who are all so accommodating and wonderful about the whole vegan thing.  We did Christmas dinner at home on Christmas Eve with my family and it was a fully vegan affair; with not so much as a peep of disapproval from our omnivorous guests (but, like, who is going to complain when I’m serving them Chocolate Pecan Pie with Coco Whip?).  Christmas Day was another great meal that left us popping the buttons on our pants, oh, and then another one on Boxing Day…

It’s now freezing cold up here in Canada, and for today, with snow squalls and minus reallyfuckingcold temperatures, chili was just the ticket.  I had leftover red wine in the fridge from serving guests at Christmas, and I don’t drink booze so I wanted to find a way to cook with it.  This chili el mole came to mind, with all the complex, toasty flavours you’d expect from a mole without the laborious, 25+ ingredient prep.

I’d recommend serving it with a wedge of the Pumpkin Corn Bread from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new book, The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook: Entertaining for Absolutely Every Occasion.  I got it for Christmas and have been pawing through it at every occasion since.

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Chili el mole

Serves 4-6 people

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles, deseeded and finely minced
2 small zucchinis, diced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp chili seasoning
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cumin
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine
2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
1 large (28 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
salt to taste
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
A handful of crushed tortilla chips, as garnish (optional)

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat, to which you will add the onions and saute until pearly and translucent. Add the garlic and chipotles and saute for a minute longer. Add the zucchinis and mushrooms, and cook until they’ve sweat out liquid and have softened. Add the tomato paste, chili seasoning, cinnamon, cumin, water, red wine and salt to taste. Stir until incorporated. Add the kidney beans, lentils, stewed tomatoes. Stir everything together, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips, letting them melt and then stirring to incorporate. Taste for salt, top with optional crushed tortilla chips, and dig in.

Kidney Bean Mushroom Curry

So, you probably get by now that we eat a lot of curries.  Here’s another one of our favourites.  I’ve learned how awesome it is to take leftover curry, drain as much liquid out as you can, add some flour, bread crumbs and a bit of vital wheat gluten until you can form a patty, and bake at 375° for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.  Instant yum, especially tucked into a pocket pita.  That’s the plan for the leftovers.

Kidney Bean Mushroom Curry
Originally found on The Vegan Mouse (with a few of my own variations)

1 tbsp peanut oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 large tomato, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup plain soy milk
1/4 cup water
1 container fresh mushrooms sliced
1 14oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high and sautée onion for 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add ginger and garlic and sautée for another 2 minutes.  Add margarine and let it melt, then add cumin, cayenne, garam masala and salt and fry for a minute. Add tomato paste, chopped tomato, mushrooms and stir around some more before adding soymilk and water. Let it come to a boil. Add beans and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add cilantro at the end. Serve hot with rice.

Mango BBQ Beans

A late dinner tonight, Trevor is working late and I spent a good chunk of the evening at the gym and came home with an appetite but not much desire to spend the rest of my evening in the kitchen.  Thank god for Appetite For Reduction, the latest cookbook from Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  Don’t let the title fool you, it’s not a weight loss book, really; it’s more health-conscious than it is calorie-counting.  What I love about it is how quickly the recipes come together.  The Mango BBQ Beans have a prep time of 15 minutes.  I can get down with that.  Did I mention that it’s absolutely delicious?

Served with sweet and salty glazed carrots and a simple salad, that’s dinner.