Fall is pretty much upon us in Vancouver. The weather is still warm, but the light is different, there’s a slight chill in the air and the atmosphere has a hazy, misty quality to it. Simply put, it’s a beautiful time of year to live here!
It also means that gone are the days of summer salads, late dinners on the patio, and thinking “I don’t feel like cooking so I’ll have some tomatoes and cheese for dinner”. It gets dark around 8, and by 7 my body is craving something hearty. It’s a bit daunting because this is my first fall (my favourite season by far) as a vegetarian. Spring and summer were totally manageable, but going meatless in the fall will be quite the accomplishment.
We probably haven’t met, but one thing you should know about me is that I love football. I’m not a die hard for any particular team, but if I don’t have plans on a Sunday, I’m most likely to be found enjoying the game on my couch, with a cold beer in hand. A by product of this home body behaviour is lots and lots of cooking. On a typical Sunday during the regular season I’ll spend at least 4 hours actively cooking or baking. Yes, my co-workers love me!
But what am I to do without my go to’s like shepherd’s pie, spaghetti Bolognese and turkey meatloaf? No wings on the bbq, or ribs on Superbowl Sunday this year. So yes, being a vegetarian on Sundays is hard. But not quite as hard as I thought. I’ve recently discovered that you can make a hearty, delicious and satisfying vegetarian meal that even a meat eating, Budweiser drinking man would love on a Sunday. For the opening Sunday of the season today I made mixed bean chilli.
It was a labour of love, in that I had to soak the beans overnight, boil them for about 90 minutes this morning, and then leave them in the slow cooker on high with everything else until 5pm. The result of my advance planning was an amazing and authentic meatless chilli. The secret ingredient is coco powder. Inspired again by Deb Perleman’s recipe on Smitten Kitchen, here’s my slow cooker version of her 3 bean chilli.
- 1 cup each: dried pinto, black and red kidney beans (soaked over night, and boiled until almost cooked (90 min approx.)
- 2 15 ou. cans diced tomatoes with juices
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coco powder
- 2 tbsp good quality chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (add more if you want a but of heat
Add everything to the slow cooker and turn it on high, cook until the beans are tender and completely cooked (about 3 hours). Reduce to low and simmer until you’re ready to eat. Serve with any and or all of the following: diced green onions, cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped pickled jalapeno peppers and tortilla chips. You could also serve it over rice to get your complete protein.
If this isn’t a touchdown then I don’t know what is! We finished off the meal with large pieces of Ina Garten’s Plum Tart Tatin (from Barefoot In Paris) which I made yesterday with fresh plums that reminded me of my childhood so much I almost cried.
So that’s one Sunday down, 15 more regular season Sundays to go, which I’m now seeing as 15 opportunities to try something new, fabulous and veg!