Wednesday, September 07, 2011

3 Day Vegan Chili

I have found a new store that I am in love with, Crystal and Spice Shoppe in downtown Belleville, IL. In fact the owners, Gloria and Rod Smith accused me of stalking them yesterday, and said they were going to talk to the bank about an addition so I could just move in. Their shop is part of a spice co-op and sells fresh dried herbs and spices at incredible prices, and at quanties as small as the quarter ounce. I bought 4 ounces of Smoked Durango sea salt for under $4.00. That same salt would have cost me $15+ on Amazon. That does not even take into consideration the quality and freshness of their spices, which makes the value all that much greater. So as I ramble on, you can see my passion, and the reason behind the stalking joke.

The point of posting, is not to sell you on visiting Crystal and Spice, although if you live locally you'd be silly not to. Instead I wanted to share this unbelievable Vegan chili I made using their wonderful spices. It has a deep rich texture and smoky flavor, I'd challenge anyone to tell me they miss the animal flesh in this terrific pot of autumn goodness. I know, I know I'm a little early. Best of all, all the ingredients in this dish are shelf stable and it would be a fabulous set of ingredients to keep around the house in case of an extended emergency. It's slow food, so it won't be ready today, but here goes, and trust me it's worth the wait.

Staple Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup Red kidney beans
Crystal & Spice Ingredients:
  • 2oz Bacums (Bacon Flavored tsp)
  • 2oz Vegetable Soup Mix
  • 2oz Tomato Powder
  • 1 tsp Durango Smoked Salt
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Powder
Lentil Preparation:
Day 1 - Start Lentils: The lentils will need to soak in filtered water overnight. Place your 1/4 cup of lentils in a full cup of filtered water. Leave to sit overnight.
Day 2 - In the morning,drain your lentils, rinse them thoroughly, and place the rinsed lentils wrapped in a kitchen towel into a bowl. Repeat rinsing procedure late evening and wrap in a new clean kitchen towel.
Day 3 - This morning you will rinse one final time and wrap in a clean towel. By this time your lentils should have tails and be easily chewed.

Kidney Bean Preparation:
Day 2: Soak 1 cup of red kidney beans overnight in 4 cups of filtered water.
Day 3: Three and a half hours before you are ready to eat drain and rinse beans.  Place beans in an uncovered pot with 4 cups of water.  When water comes to a boil add Smoked Salt, Bacums, and Chipotle Powder.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 3 hours, checking water occasionally.

Final Chili Assembly:
When beans have finished simmering it's time to make the chili.  In my case all my water had boiled down so I added 3 more cups of water to the pan.  Return to a boil, then add Vegetable soup mix, tomato powder, chili powder and cumin.  All these ingredients will absorb a lot of your newly added water, simmer the mixture for another 15 minutes to set the flavors. The last step is to just boil off any remaining water till you have a nice think chili consistency, I did not have any remaining water.  Finally, after removing chili from heat, mix in your  sprouted lentils, cover and let set at least 10 minutes before serving.

It is an amazing chili, and well worth the 3 days of work to make it.  It is packed full of nutritious whole food plant based ingredients, and the spice combination packs a knockout punch.  If you're ever going to be in the area, let us know a few days in advanced and we'll cook up a pot for us all to share!