Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Sunday, September 11, 2016

One Thing I Always Look Forward To In #Fall

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I don't know about you, but one of the things I love about Fall are the warm, stick-to-your-ribs meals like chili.  Now, I know some of you might not agree, but I prefer my chili without meat.  One of my favorite meatless chilis is made with lentil beans and, today, I thought I'd share the recipe with you.  Now, be warned, I'm one of those "put a little in, taste it, add more if you need it and don't bother measuring" kind of cooks, so measurements for some things are approximate and might need adjustment. And I'll also offer suggestions for alternatives for some ingredients.

Lentil Chili Recipe:
12ozs dried, sorted lentil beans
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 diced large onion (white, yellow, or red)
3 chopped chili peppers
10-15 cloves minced garlic
2 tblspns extra virgin olive oil
1 12oz can kidney beans
1 12oz can black beans
1 12oz can corn
3 tblspns cumin
1 tblspn turmeric
1/2 cup red wine
3-4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

Put dried lentils, both cans of tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, garlic, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, wine, and water into a crockpot and turn on high for 4 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning and water as necessary, add kidney beans, black beans and corn, and cook for another 2-3 hours.  Taste, adjust seasoning as necessary, and serve.

Pretty easy recipe, right?  The lazy cook's dream. ;-)  Now, my crockpot is six quarts, so you might need to adjust amounts to accommodate your crockpot. Also, if you don't like canned beans or tomatoes, you can use cooked dried kidney beans and black beans or whatever beans you like, and you can use six to eight plum tomatoes.

You can either use the tomatoes with the skins on, which is what I usually do when I use fresh tomatoes, or you can dip them in boiling water for a minute and then put them directly into ice water. The skins should come off if you rub them.  You can either put the tomatoes in a blender to puree them or chop them up with a knife or a little of both. It just depends on how chunky you like your chili.

You can use vegetable stock instead of water if you'd like to add a little extra flavor. Just be careful and remember to adjust the salt you add accordingly.  If you add too much salt, you can add some uncooked rice to absorb it, just remember to add extra liquid as well and to let it cook until the rice is soft.  Also, if you don't like wine you can use half a can of beer, darker is better, for a different taste. And if you don't like to keep alcohol in the house, you can use 1/4 cup red wine vinegar.

Some other things I like to add sometimes are shredded carrots, diced zucchini, chopped bell peppers, garbanzo beans, spinach, and/or cauliflower.  Also, if you don't have any chili peppers on hand, chili powder is an okay substitute, though it mainly adds heat and not all the other flavor of the peppers.

Bon appetit!

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