Vegetarian Chili With Meat

Yeah – it’s a dumb name for it – I know.

I originally started out to make my 4-alarm chili recipe, but instead of diced tomatoes, I added pureed – and it just seems to be too thin. So I decided to clean my fridge of a number of vegetables that had reached middle age, but were still good – at least good enough for chili.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – 1/2 giant sweet onions, chopped
  • 20 white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small eggplant, with skin on, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can Old El Paso Green Chilies
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (1/2 of what I usually put in deference to other household members)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (28 ounce) can pureed tomatoes
  • shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese

In a large pot, drizzle olive oil over the sides and bottom. I took the time to put in the ground beef and brown it a bit – it does come out much better – I once did the ‘throw everything in at once’ thing with chili and the beef had the consistency of a smoothie – eeech! – the browning adds some depth to the flavor and ‘chunks’ it up a bit.

When the meat was browned, then I threw everything else in.

I thought I went too far – eggplant and mushrooms in chili? Never heard of it myself. I figured: no matter how weird it is, I’ll eat it. The proportions just seemed so wrong – then damn pot was overflowing with veggies – and the meat seemed to be playing a supporting role in the pot.

What the Hell, I said.

I let it cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. It was a Sunday, and I had the luxury of tending to a pot while putzing around doing other things.

After the 2 hours were up, my daughter wanted some – she gave it a thumbs up. I had some as well – it was delish! I regretted not putting in more vegetables.

The grated cheese makes a great topping, though it was good without.

This giant pot of chili, made on Sunday, only lasted until about Tuesday. My wife remarked: “It seems everyone liked your chili.”

Once again, reckless abandon and the courage to face tossing a giant pot of food in the garbage yielded a great recipe.

As the weather is turning cold in the Northeast,  I am looking forward to making another pot this coming weekend.

I’d say you could eat this in induction, though I’m too lazy to do any carb calculation. Great source of veggies – especially for those of you who consider french fries your primary vegetables and think all that other vegetables are posers compared to fries. It was also a way to get the kid to eat veggies, usually avoided at all costs.

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