Monday, November 22, 2010

Lilibeth's Smoky Comfort-in-a-Bowl Chili

Becoming a nutritarian-vegan has vastly heightened my ability to enjoy preparing yummy food, whether raw or cooked. I've always admired people who love to cook. Maybe this new eating lifestyle was my personal catalyst since deep down inside there's always been a health nut screaming to come out and take over the reigns!

It's been fun collecting up ingredients that I had never tried let alone heard of before, like liquid smoke. I'm sure the rest of the world has a bottle of this stuff in their cupboard but somehow it's existence had slipped past me unnoticed. It's the perfect addition to chili, what with that gorgeous hickory smell!

This chili will not make your eyes water or set your tongue on fire, at least not from the get-go. Be assured, it does have a smoky kick to it that will build with every bite. You'll notice I used a wide array of spices and herbs, more than your average recipe. It smells and tastes wonderful!

Jon says its the best I've ever made, and I've made some pretty awesome chili in my time. Score! According to him he wouldn't want it any spicier. Double score! If I wasn't out of cornmeal I'd be making my favourite cornbread as a go-along.

Lilibeth's Smoky Comfort-in-a-Bowl Chili

2 28oz. cans no-added-salt diced tomatoes, drained
3 Tbsp no-salt tomato paste
3 Tbsp date paste* (or 1 Tbsp natural granulated sugar etc.)
2-3 portobella mushrooms, diced into 1/2" cubes
1 whole garlic bulb (about 10 cloves), crushed
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced (or 1 cup of frozen corn)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (wear gloves!)
2 celery stalks (plus some leaves), finely diced
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp smoked paprika (not regular paprika)
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp herb de provence
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt (or less if canned tomatoes have added salt - you be the judge)
1 19oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
1 19oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 19oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed well

To avoid using processed sugar which lack nutrients, I encourage you to make some date paste. Dates are a source of fiber, vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese...get the picture!

*Date Paste:

approx. 8 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup water to start

Process in food processor. You may need more water depending on how dry the dates are. Add 1-2 Tbsp at a time. Store in glass jar in fridge. I confess it was really too small an amount of stuff to give my food processor to work with, but I persevered! The consistency I was going for was something that wasn't too runny. I wanted it concentrated.

Okay, now on with the chili!

Basically, throw it all into a good sized crock pot and mix well. I chose to saute the mushrooms before throwing them in, but it's really not necessary. I added the beans after mixing up everything else so they wouldn't become pulverized.

substitute corn for the yellow pepper if you prefer

Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high 5 hours or so. Actually I'm just guessing here. You'll know when it's done.

right before the lid goes on and the crock pot is turned on


  1. Mmm, that looks and sounds so good! I love how you used a whole head of garlic - we are huge garlic fans here. And all those yummy seasonings sounds like they helped turn out a perfect chili dish. Good job.

  2. Thank you, thank you! Garlic sure is a beautiful thing! :-D

  3. It's snowing outside, making this sound like a great dinner option!

  4. Oh ya Jill, snow and chili on the same day...perfect! Gotta say it again, I adore your blog, it's a visual treat! :)