It’s cold here in the Midwest. That means I’m cold too, including my hands. If I could figure out a way to work my trackpad and wear gloves, I would do it. That said, I’ll let you in on a little secret about me. I love cold.
It’s not that I love *being* cold. What I love about the cold is the muffled, crunchy snow. Cozy winter sweaters (especially the kind that are forgiving of the waistline). Fires crackling in the fireplace. The smell of chili simmering in the kitchen.
It’s the ambience of winter that really draws me in. And I particularly like the food that comes with it. Having a warm bowl of chili in July is fine, but in January? It’s downright heavenly!
We have several variations on the chili theme we use around here. My hubby likes his chili nice and hearty with rice and potatoes and all the right seasonings. I’m fine with just about any kind of chili (as long as it’s vegan, of course), but it’s the toppings that make my heart sing. Jalapenos, cornbread, and ketchup. Yes, you read that right, ketchup. I grew up dousing my chili with a little bit of ketchup and it’s a habit that does not want to die!
The thing is, making your family a nice pot of chili feels so nurturing. And that’s an attribute I don’t often ascribe to myself. My houseplants stand up and yell a hearty “Amen!” Sorry, Fern, I am trying! But you have to admit you’re a bit needy with that constant spritzing!
Back to the point. Here’s my vegan (and gluten free) recipe for Warm (and creamy) chili. You won’t believe where the “creamy” part comes from. I can give you a hint, it’s my new favorite (and cheapest) ingredient! Can I have some more, peas?
Warm Creamy Chili
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, in juice
- 1 15 oz vegetable broth
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1 12 oz can corn
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 – 2 cups Creamed peas, (see directions below)
- Creamed Peas
- 1 bag Yellow Peas, Rinsed and drained
In a large pot, saute the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until tender. Add remaining ingredients except for the creamed peas. Stir together. Simmer on medium-low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. To thicken the sauce and to add a creamy texture to the chili, add the “creamed” peas. I used the full 2 cups, but you can add one cup at a time until you get the desired texture.
This is not the creamed peas from your childhood. This is my recipe for a pea paste you can add to recipes to thicken and add flavor. First of all, follow the directions on your bag of yellow peas (which should cost you less than a dollar!). This means either soaking them overnight and cooking them in water the next day until they are tender. Or you can follow the quick soak method which is what I did. Rinse and sort the peas. Then add them to large pot with 6 – 8 cups of hot water. Bring to a rapid boil and boil for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain water and rinse peas. Add the cooked peas to either a blender or food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. Scrape down any peas that might have tried to escape and pulse again until very smooth, up to about 1 minute if necessary. This will make more than 1 cup of “creamed” peas, but I find this stuff is great to have on hand and I use as a thickener or filler for other recipes too.