I fully intended to make bittersweet's cranberry chili. But then I realized that all my frozen cranberries had gone into a sauce at Thanksgiving, which had too much cinnamon/cloves/sugar/etc to be considered for this chili. What to do?! At that moment I saw some mangoes in my freezer -- Devon had gifted me them (fresh) a few weeks prior, and I'd had no use for them, so I peeled and froze them. Surely, I thought, mangos can fill in for cranberries, with their tangy acidity!
Game on. Since mangos are sweeter, I omitted the sugar from the original recipe. I added some cumin, bay leaf, and more minced mushrooms, and I doubled the garlic. I used kidney beans as my main protein, and I added some nutritional yeast near the end for extra richness. I found that I needed to add more water than called for, and that the recipe was quite spicy (and this is me talking). Oh, and I halved the recipe (it still made a lot!).
I ate this chili with some sauteed chard and corn (photo below).
(adapted from bittersweet's cranberry chili)
1 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tsp cumin seed
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1 c mango, fresh or frozen, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (or less--this was spicy)
1.5 TB chili powder
1/2 can chopped tomatoes (about 1 c)
1 TB tomato paste
1/2 c prepared salsa
2 c kidney beans (1 can)
1/4 c bulgur
1/2 c water
salt, to taste
1/4 c nutritional yeast (optional)
1. In a large stock pot, pour in the oil, swirling to coat the bottom of your vessel, and set over medium heat. Add in your onion, carrot, and celery, sauteing until softened and aromatic; about 5 minutes. Introduce the garlic next and continue cooking until the onions begin to look lightly golden brown. This should take between 7 – 10 more minutes, but you’re better off keeping an eye on it rather than timing it. Add a small pinch of salt if they begin threatening to stick.
3. Starting with the lower amount of chili powder, sprinkle it in and stir well, incorporating it thoroughly with the other ingredients. Quickly add in the chopped tomatoes, liquid and all, to prevent those spices from burning. Scrape the bottom of the pan with your stirring utensil to properly deglaze and ensure that nothing is left sticking there. From that point, add in the rest of the ingredients except for the salt, taking care to first work the paste out so that it’s smoothly dissolved into the stew without any large blobs remaining.
4. Cover, reduce the heat just slightly again to keep it at a low simmer, and the chili gently bubble away for about 30 additional minutes. Stir and check for consistency periodically. Near the end of the cooking time, adjust the amount of chili powder and salt to taste, and stir in nutritional yeast. When it’s properly thick and the bulgur is tender, you’re good to ladle it up and enjoy! Top as desired, or of course, feel free to just eat it straight. Serves 6.
Sauteed Rainbow Chard and Sweet Corn