Crock pot vegetarian chili

I’ve fancied the idea of having a crock pot for a while, with my friend Toby heading back to the states and selling off (or giving away) most of his worldly possessions I was finally able to acquire one.

After carrying the crock pot from his flat, to work and then back home I wondered what exactly I was going to do with it. So it’s sat on my sideboard for a couple of weeks now. I hate having kitchen gadgets that sit in the back of cupboard and don’t ever get used, so it got to the point where it was do or die, i’ll use the crock pot or get rid of it.

On a similar theme of kitchen minimalism I was poking through my cupboards to see what cans, jars and odds and ends I could use up. After finding numerous cans of beans and tinned tomatoes it was pretty clear a slow cooked veggie chili was on the cards.

Having never cooked anything in a crock pot before I did a bit of searching and checking on recipes. Everything seems to be the same as a normal chili, with a couple of exceptions

  • You’ll need to fry off onions in a pan first
  • You’ll need to cook it for hours, like 6-8 of them.

I didn’t have 6+ hours this time, so I cracked the crock pot up to high. In the future i’ll definitely do it "properly", put it on in the morning and leave it on all day.

So, first things first, I chopped up an onion and gently fried it with my chili spices; Garlic, red chili flakes, ground cumin, smoked paprika, curry power and some chopped fresh green chilies.

Cambridge Heath, 9 May 2009

Throw the friend onion in the crock pot. Next I added my various cans of beans and tomato – don’t trust this photo though. I actually left the chick peas out and added an extra can of chopped tomato. This all went in the crock pot, along with half a pint of vegtable stock, a big squeee of tomato puree and a splash of Worcestershire sauce (use soy if you don’t have any). Followed with lots of salt, pepper and a really good stir with a wooden spoon.

Cambridge Heath, 9 May 2009

That was it, I set the pot to high, popped the lid on and left it for about 4 hours. When there was an hour to go I took a potato masher to the chili to smooth the beans mixture a little, i’m more of a fan of mush chili, so your milage may vary. For the remainder of of cooking time I left the lid off to thicken it up a bit.

How did it turn out? Pretty damn tasty, probably the best veggie chili i’ve made. There is one problem though; a crock pot makes a lot. Luckily chili is a very versatile food. Last night I had it with a simple bit of rice, for lunch today I made some pretty amazing nachos with chili and for tomorrow night I plan to make some tortilla wraps and make some bean burritos.

Cambridge Heath, 10 May 2009

I’m now turning my eye to my next crock pot experiment, maybe a lasagna or a Bolognese. Any suggestions?

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