This is probably not totally shocking if you have ever read this blog before, but I am not a vegetarian. However, just because I happen to fiend for bacon on an hourly basis doesn’t mean I don’t respect the food lifestyle choices of others (exception: people who put mayonnaise on hot dogs, because that’s not okay.) I mean, some of my best friends are vegetarians (kind of.) I’m so open minded.
So when I saw that America’s longest running vegan chili cook off was happening in Austin this past Sunday, I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to break out of my culinary comfort zone and experiment with a new kind of Royito’s recipe. I had never heard of vegan chili before much less made it myself, so I knew I would have to get creative. And guess what y’all? It paid off! Our Royito’s chili came in 2nd place in the All-Veg division.
And now I will teach YOU how to make this *ahem* award-winning chili in your own home! Because it is officially fall (I know because it’s like 60 degrees and FREEZING outside), I really wanted to use some good seasonal ingredients and flavors, so the star of this dish is butternut squash. Here’s how to make it:
First, do a fine dice on some onion, carrot, and celery. Get them into a pot with some olive oil and salt over medium high heat. You are going to want to really brown these veggies so it will take about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring somewhat frequently.
Whew, okay. That was the hardest part of this recipe. If you are a slow chopper you might want to get all of your chopping done before you start to make things easier. Once your veggies in the pan have browned, add in a 6 oz can of tomato paste and stir. Brown that for another 3 minutes or so. This is creating a really rich, deep base of flavor that will make for a hearty chili. The technique I’m using here was inspired by my favorite chef Anne Burrell’s Bolognese recipe, which is a must try as well.
Now spices! This is what makes the chili taste like chili. I used a bunch of, um, chili powder (duh), plus some garlic powder, coriander, cumin, and a dash of cinnamon to really bring home the warm fall flavor.
Let this all simmer together, covered, for about 15 minutes to cook all the veggies and bring all the flavors together. I forgot to photograph this step but it’s super important, obviously. Now add in some drained black beans and stir everything together, and let it simmer for another 10 minutes to reduce and thicken.
Royito’s Harvest Veggie Chili Recipe
Extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
3 medium sized carrots, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
1 butternut squash, diced
4 portabella mushrooms, diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 tbsp chili powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
4 cups (one carton) vegetable broth
2 cups (one jar) Royito’s Hot Sauce
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained
Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and put in onion, carrot, and celery and season with salt. Cook these over medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until they have browned. Then, add in tomato paste, stir, and allow that to brown for another 3 minutes.
Pour in half a cup of vegetable broth to loosen it up, then toss in the rest of the veggies. Stir so that everything is mixed evenly. Then add spices, and stir everything together again.
Pour in the rest of the veggie broth, followed by Royito’s, and let simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
Uncover the pot, add in black beans, and continue to let simmer uncovered for ten more minutes until it has reduced and thickened. Serve and enjoy!