December 23, 2008

Veggie Raptor Chili Wins in Puerto Vallarta!

Our Team - Jamie, Linda, Mary, Bill, & Ed 
Our low-fat vegan chili won the 9th Annual Cruisers Chili Cook Off in Puerto Vallarta on December 6, 2008, our 4th win in a row!

We really never thought we had a chance this year.  After 3 consecutive wins out of 3 total entries, we decided to go Vegan!  Who would have thought a Vegan recipe could compete against the other all meat entrants, but we did!  Why, because it tastes so darned fantastic!

The recipe was invented by executive chefs Bill & Mary with assistance in the prep and serving by sous chefs Ed, Linda, & Jamie.

Here are our prior 3 wins with the links to the 2 that are available online.
We have reduced this recipe to a more manageable size for you all, rather than the amount we made for the Chili Cook Off (5+ Gallons). We have given approximate amounts as there is no exact recipe – judge by sight, tasting along the way. We didn't follow anyone else's recipe but created this between us. This should make just over a gallon of Chili.

With the vegetables (corn, carrots, onions, garlic), plantains and beans judge by sight what ratio looks best – the finished product should have a pleasing appearance as well as taste.

When you are all done the flavor component contributors are: the green sauce and limes for brightness; the plantain, garlic and onion, for sweetness; and the chilies, por su puesto (of course), for heat.

The basic outline is:

1. Cook the beans separately,
2. Mix the green sauce ahead or while the vegetables are cooking,
3. Sauté the base vegetable group,
4. Add the tomatoes,
5. Add the beans, more vegetables and seasonings and cook to blend the flavors,
6. Taste and add the green sauce,
7. Taste and add plantain,
8. Taste and adjust balance and seasoning as necessary.

Green sauce: This is a good sauce on it's own too.

• Tomatillos - 2 cups+ rough cut
• Cilantro - 1 bunch remove any tough stems
• Garlic - 1 clove
• Jalapeño – 1 rough cut

Process tomatillos in a blender, add the remaining ingredients and blend. Taste. If the tomatillos are older, you may need to add some lime juice.

Beans:

• black beans - 2 cups dry (makes 2 quarts)
• dried pasilla pepper - 1

Soak he beans overnight - 4 to 8 hours in cold water.
Remove the seeds from the pasilla pepper and lightly toast in a dry pan.

Cook the pepper and beans, in sufficient water in a pressure cooker 10 minutes on second ring or simmer on top of the stove in a regular pot, checking for doneness, for up to an hour.
Be careful not to overcook the beans so they do not fall apart in the chili.

Before draining the beans, taste the cooking water. It should have a nice flavor. If it is, save some to add at any point that you need water or need to thin the chili.

Chili:

• chopped onions - 4 cups, +1/2 cup reserved for garnish
• diced carrots - 2 cups, +1 cup reserved
• diced celery - 1 cup
• garlic, whole cloves - 10-20, +10 coarse chopped reserved
• tomatoes - 2 16oz cans chopped or whole tomatoes chopped
• tomato paste - 1 can
• cumin - 1+ teaspoon
• coriander - 1+ teaspoon
• jalapeños - 2+ as desired
• poblanos - 2+ as desired
• dried pasilla - 1+ as desired, seeds removed
• chipotle powder - 3/4-1 tablespoon or more. This is another thing to judge by taste. Add more as needed rather than too much to start with.
• árbol chilies - as many as necessary to bring it to the heat level that you want
• corn - 2 cups
• very ripe (black) plantains - 3 diced

The Process:

• Cook the black beans and make the green sauce as described above.
• In a pot that will hold at least 6 quarts, Sauté the onion, carrots and celery in a small amount of water (just enough water to keep the vegetables from sticking in the beginning).
• During the cooking process if your batch gets too thick, thin with bean cooking liquid or water.
• When this softens add the whole garlic cloves.
• Cook to soften the garlic.
• Remove seeds from pasilla, toast the pasilla lightly in a dry pan.
• Now either puree in a blender with some of the tomatoes or chop.
• Add pasillas and the additional tomatoes, diced carrots and corn.
• Sauté the tomato paste until a rust color in a pan with a little water, add to the vegetables.
• Now add the beans, jalapeños, poblanos, reserved chopped garlic, coriander, pasilla, cumin and chipotle.
• Simmer to blend the seasonings and cook the carrots – about 20 minutes
• Taste for balance and heat. Add additional seasonings as needed.
• Add the green sauce.
• Taste. You may be happy with it right here and just need to balance the flavors. Or continue and add the chopped plantain.
• Taste and adjust for heat and acidity. Add lime juice to make the taste brighter.
• Serve with your choice of toppings, we like chopped raw white onions and chopped jalapeños.
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