Thursday, March 31, 2011

Slow-cooker vegetarian chili (p. 101)

Ah, Slow-cooker vegetarian chili (p. 101). I was not looking forward to this recipe. Josh hates beans and I hate bell peppers, plus we both like meat in our chili, so this was not going to be a winner by anyone's count.

Backing up a little, a month ago I joined a co-working space, in hopes that having an office again would motivate me to finish my dissertation and keep my blog updated (both of which are actually occurring, so it was a good choice). While on my free day pass to see if coworking would work for me, everybody was discussing a chili cook-off. Not only did I instantly know a chili cook-off would be the perfect place to pass off the vegetarian chili, I also knew that Cohere would be the perfect match for me.

The chili was easy and would have been even easier if I didn't have the irrational fear that the slow cooker wants to burn my house down (yes, I assign it intent).

I soaked pinto beans overnight:

They didn't seem tender at all. Josh had just told me that he had recently listened to some program on NPR that said beans need to be soaked longer, so, with that in mind but no extra time, I used the quick-soak method on them, too (I'm pretty sure that sentence has an extra comma in it, I apologize to the grammar police in advance).

Finally, the beans were muddy and soaked thoroughly:

While that was happening, I cooked an onion, a green pepper, a red pepper, celery, carrots, jalapenos, and garlic in some olive oil. Since I knew I was serving this to a judging panel I took care in my vegetable cutting for once:

I added chili powder:

I added water and tomato paste and brought it to a boil:

The vegetable mixture, the beans, salt, and more water went in to the slow cooker:

And it cooked for hours. About a half an hour before it was finished I added corn:

It then had to ride with me across town and I had to carry it up a flight of stairs. A slow-cooker full of chili is surprisingly heavy and unwieldy.

So how was it?

I am going to have to steal what one of the judges, Kristin from Feasting Fort Collins, wrote about my chili on the her blog post about the event:

Jessica’s “Hopefully Not Spectacularly Boring” vegetarian chili was a sweet, sweet reprieve. It was spotted with colorful chunky vegetables swimming in a healing mellow broth. It was runny like soup, and in fact, a bit on the boring side, but you can’t blame her for The Joy Of Cookings’ recipe and their neglect to using spices.

I have to admit, I didn't try it. I really hate bell peppers. But I will say that although it was underseasoned it was popular with the vegetarians and almost-vegetarians in the crowd and I got a number of compliments on it.

The coworking space has also been invaluable as a place to unload all the baked goods I need to make for TJOTJOC.

So, instead of random facts, I'm going to close this post with a haiku:

In my opinion
Vegetarian chili
Could really use meat

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  1. The vegetables were gorgeous! And the Haiku sums it up perfectly :)

  2. It's a SERIOUS HEALTH HAZARD to cook raw (dry) beans in "Slow cookers" (Crock pots) without properly deactivating the TOXINS. While kidney beans are the most likely type to cause the illness, almost any type may cause serious vomiting/diarhea (nasty gastrointestinal symtoms).
    There is a clear explanation at wikipedia ( also has medical/food safety information on this).

  3. Jonathan is right. We learned the hard way, even after soaking them overnight.


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