Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Confetti Chili: Cooking for a Vegetarian in a Meat Eating Home

My twenty-two year old son decided to stop eating meat about three or so years ago. He is a musician, studying to make music his career and being a vegetarian is part of the music subculture that he identifies with. Our meat eating kids are spending the most of the summer working on the staff at a a camp in New Hampshire and our vegetarian son is home from college for the summer. It has been a challenge knowing how to feed him, especially since cooking and feeding people good food is one of the ways I "love" on people. I came up with an idea a while back that I have done with several different dishes. I cook the base of a dish that is flexible enough to be finished either for a vegetarian or for a meat eater.

I did this today with a dish I threw together I dubbed "Confetti Chili" because of all the wonderful colors the different varieties of vegetables gave the dish. As is often the case this was a "let's see what's in the pantry, fridge and garden and see what I can come up with" dish. I was pretty pleased with the results. I put together all the vegetarian friendly ingredients, then separated out about 1/3 for my son and finished the rest with some ground beef I had in the freezer. You can change to spice mixture to suit your taste. The one I did has some heat, but is not overwhelming. If you like a lot of heat, add more cayenne.

Confetti Chili

2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 bell peppers, one red, one green if available, coarsely chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic diced
1 medium can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium can corn
1 small can salsa picante
1 small can tomato sauce
1 medium can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon good quality chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
cayenne pepper to taste
black pepper to taste
salt to taste

1 lb. ground beef browned

Fresh chopped cilantro.

Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese.

Saute in onions, peppers and celery in a pot until soft. Add the garlic and saute just until done, being sure not to burn it. Add the rest of ingredient except for the ground beef. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add a bit more water if necessary. Set aside enough of the chili to serve those who want vegetarian chili. Cook another hour or so. Add the ground beef to the rest of the chili and cook another hour or so. Add the cilantro to both portions just before serving.

Serve chili with sour cream, cheddar cheese and soda or oyster crackers.


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