Sort’ve Mom’s Chili

November 8, 2012

Yesterday I had plans to make a warming and comforting veggie soup.   And, as plans so often do, by the time I got home I was in the mood for chili. 

Now, I’ve made more than my fair share of chili these past few years and I’ve certainly never shy’d away from variation.  Sweet potato chili, pumpkin chili, chipotle chili (one of Brandon’s favorites), chili with beer, chili with lime juice, gajillion bean chili, chili with hominy, chili with coffee and chili with chocolate.   But none of these are the chili that I grew up on.  Granted, most of them are vegan and my mom’s chili was decidedly not vegan.  Ground beef, beans, green peppers and tomatoes.  And last night – that is the ONLY thing I wanted.  Was mom’s chili, vegan style.

Even though I have a soft spot in my heart for variations and constantly playing around with recipes, the one flavor that was always present was a certain sweetness that comes with using sweet potatoes, pumpkin, etc as a base.  My mom’s never had that.  So for last night’s dinner, my goal was to recreate her chili, with things I had in the kitchen.

To get around the big hearty pieces of beef she’d put in hers, I used up the last of my two (massive!) portobella caps.  Bellas are a great way to replace that “meatiness” of a dish and I’m actually surprised I never thought to do this before.  They held their consistency and weren’t ever too mushy – delish!

The other thing I remember most about my mom’s chili is how simple it was, in both ingredients and flavor.  It wasn’t ever too spicy and had this perfect tomatoey base.  So next went in a can of regular diced tomatoes, juice and all and a can of water (and ok, a splash of leftover stoudt from the fridge).  I added a touch of liquid smoke and I’m not sure I would do it again. While it tasted fantastic the next day, the hickory flavor was a little more pronounced than I wanted it to be last night.  To counteract, I added a small can of tomato paste and a squirt of ketchup – which surprisingly worked out perfect!  A can of red kidney beans and some leftover white beans, a palmful of spices like Cumin ( a MUST), some ground corriander, cayenne pepper, paprika and a touch of oregano.  I finished off the pot with a healthy splash of hot sauce and some chili paste for a kick. 


My mom always served hers with a good dose of parm cheese on top (later we upgraded to cheddar if we wanted, but parm cheese seemed to be what everyone reached for), so as one last nod to her, I sprinkled my with some Nutritional Yeast.

Quick. Cozy.  Simple. Perfecct.  Just like mom’s, sort’ve. 😉

And before I forget:

Today, I am thankful for this little monster:

Begging for playtime (she chases mice and strings), tummy rubs, head scratches (yeah…I know, weird cat), using my legs for pillows and begging for fishy flakes since 2007.  


2 Responses to “Sort’ve Mom’s Chili”

  1. Vanessa Says:

    Love the cat! And the chili’s not bad either!

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