Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fijiterian Chili

Growing up in Texas I turned my nose up at chili that had beans in it. Then, life happened. I went from hardly eating beans at all (yes Dad, I know you tried HARD to get me to eat frijoles, I guess I wasn't ready for it) to trying to get 4 ounces of beans in every meal. Yeah. Ain't life a kicker?

July in Fiji is the middle of winter, and I found myself wanting to nest and snuggle up with a warm bowl of chili. I fiddled around with some vegetarian recipes until I came up with this one. It uses unsweetened chocolate - 2 ounces of Abuelita's if you can find it, otherwise any unsweetened cocoa powder will do, just add in some cinnamon. Since I can't find Abuelita's here, the recipe just has unsweetened cocoa powder listed.  

Fijiterian Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin/jeera
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cubed (or a pound of browned and drained beef mince)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cubes vegetable bouillon
1 cup water
2 (15 oz) cans of your favorite beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup corn starch (optional)
1 cup cold water (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in uncovered pressure cooker over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, and garlic. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the diced eggplant. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.

Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder, cocoa powder, and bouillon cubes. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Add one cup water.

Close cover securely; place pressure regulator on vent pipe. Bring pressure cooker to full pressure over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high; cook for 30 minutes. Pressure regulator should maintain a slow steady rocking motion; adjust heat if necessary.

Remove pressure cooker from heat; use quick-release following manufacturer's instructions or allow pressure to drop on its own.

Open cooker and add corn. If chili is thin, add 1/4 cup corn starch mixed with cold water. If chili is too thick, add water to thin. Stir to blend and heat through before serving.

My recommendation? Make it today and put it in the fridge, serve it tomorrow. The flavors just get better overnight. 

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