My oh my, it has been getting cold here in the Pacific Northwest! And it is a wet cold – the kind that blows through your clothes and goes straight to the bone. Yes, I know, I’m from Alaska…ok, ok, it hasn’t been THAT cold. It is certainly fall though, and rounding the corner into winter.
I actually love this time of year weather-wise: when it’s cold enough for jackets and gloves and red noses, but it’s not winter quite yet. Crisp, I think it’s called. Ok, so it has been crisp here.
I’m glad we settled that. Because the chilly weather has really put me in the mood for some hearty chili! (I’m so very sorry…but I’m not erasing it) And that is what I have for you today: a filling, homey, good-for-the-soul meal of vegetarian chili and sweet potato biscuits.
I know there are people out there (you know who you are) who will cross their arms and say that anything that claims to be chili and doesn’t have meat in it just isn’t chili. Well. To those people I firmly stick out my tongue and say, “more for me!” because this chili is delicious.
I listed the sweet potato biscuits in my fall to-do list post a couple of weeks ago, and in so doing created a biscuit-shaped hole in my belly that needed to be filled – and quick. The recipe that inspired the chili has also been on my to-make list for quite a while. During a time in my life when I feel I am able to get very little accomplished that doesn’t have to do with grad school, crossing these two recipes off that list made me very proud indeed!
This is also the type of meal that is sure to create leftovers and was perfect for me to take to school for lunch, an attribute I am always on the lookout for these days. The biscuits, orange as they are, are also quite seasonal. Comfort food Halloween dinner anyone?
Quinoa Vegetarian Chili
Adapted from Savoring the Thyme
Makes a big ol’ pot of chili
Most of my adaptations to the original chili recipe were to substitute fresh ingredients in for the canned or frozen ones called for. I figured that I should use them while I could! And in fact, this was the last recipe I made with fresh corn before it disappeared from the farmers market. So, if you can use fresh please do, but if you can’t that’s ok – it will still be yummy.
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 cups fresh shelled beans (I used cranberry beans)
- 2 cups veggie stock
- 1 can organic black beans, undrained
- fresh corn kernels from 3 ears of corn (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
Turn heat down to medium, add garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano and chili powder and cook for another couple of minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the quinoa, and turn the heat to high. Allow to come to a boil, stirring frequently.
Then, lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, continuing to stir and taste to adjust seasoning periodically.
Once it’s to your liking, stir in the cooked quinoa and serve with biscuits (below).
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Barely adapted from Orangette
Makes 8-10 biscuits (depending on what you consider a biscuit cutter)
Making these two recipes together requires you to get your timing right. I made my sweet potato puree before I started working on the chili and put it in the fridge to cool. Once I had the chili on the stove and simmering, I set to work on making the biscuits. The timing worked out perfectly for me, but if you have trouble just remember to err on the side of finishing the chili before the biscuits. The chili can stay warm on the stove top and will get even better with time, but there is no replacement for warm, fresh-from-the-oven biscuits!
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp light-brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 6 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup chilled sweet potato puree (read: approx. 2 medium peeled, boiled, and puréed sweet potatoes)
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425°, with rack on lower shelf.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
With a pastry blender (or however you like to do it), cut in the cold butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-size lumps of butter remaining.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet potato purée and buttermilk; stir quickly into flour mixture until combined (do not over mix – it will still be slightly crumbly).
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead very gently until dough comes together but is still slightly lumpy, five or six times. (If dough is too sticky, work in up to 1/4 cup additional flour.)
Shape into a disk, and pat to an even 1-inch thickness.
With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter (or whatever circular implement you have on hand), cut out biscuits as close together as possible.
Gather together scraps, and repeat to cut out more biscuits.
Butter or spray an 8-inch cake pan. Arrange biscuits snugly in pan.
Brush with melted butter. Bake until golden, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating once in the middle. Serve immediately!