Cooler, wetter weather, colorful trees, and longer nights bring on some of the best days of the year. It’s when a large steaming bowl of chili really hits the spot. Of course there is no real chili season, it can be enjoyed any time of year. However, I like it best during the autumn and winter months.
My friend Andy turned me on to one of his favorite vegetarian chili recipes last year, and it is one that I like to prepare because it brings variety to the table. This recipe does not use the usual chili or kidney beans that most chili recipes call for. In this case, we use lentils. This also means better digestion and somewhat less gas.
Andy’s Slow Cooker Lentil Chili (Vegetarian)
1 tbsp of vegetable or olive oil
2 medium size yellow onions, chopped
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium size carrots, chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
dash of salt
dash of hot pepper sauce (optional)
a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
a 16 ounce bag of dry lentils
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup water
Examine the lentils and pick out any stones then rinse and drain.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped onions, carrots, and minced garlic. Fry until the onions are softened and slightly brown. Sprinkle in the salt and powdered ingredients; blend them in and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Splash in some hot sauce, if preferred, and stir again.
Pour the cooked mixture into a slow cooker, add the tomatoes, the lentils, broth, and water. Blend everything together Cover and cook four to six hours according to the slow cooker manufacturer’s instructions. Add hot water if needed for your preferred consistency.
Serve with corn bread or corn chips and a side salad for a complete meal.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this arcane verse from Benjamin Franklin:
“Rain or snow
To chili go
You’ll find it so
For ought we know
Time will show.”