Hearty Lentil Chili2010-09-07
We are back from Portland where we enjoyed some great cuisine, wines and its rugged natural look. Back to the traffic and work, but we do have our wonderful kitchen to enjoy. While we appreciated our many experiences out west, it was great to get back to cooking and controlling the ingredients. This was going to be a busy week back at work so some advance food preparation was in order to ease our retreat from vacation. Chili is always a good one to make in advance. It even gets better if it sits for a day.
Now the question was what chili to make. We have posted a basic chili recipe, there is my mother’s chili recipe I grew up with (note it has kidney beans; not my favorite) and cookbooks galore with options. In a recent Cuisine At Home issue they provided a lentil chili recipe that looked interesting. I have to admit that lentils are a new interest of mine courtesy of the introduction from my wife. These little legumes have some great benefits and if cooked properly add great texture. After some more scouring through cookbooks I went back to the lentil recipe with some modification and I am glad I did.
This chili provided great flavor and texture. We served it up as a full meal with salad and garlic naan for a meal at about 500 calories. The lentils provide a bit of a nutty flavor instead of the often mushiness of kidney beans. I typically use black beans but I love how these lentils taste and hold up through reheating. Select the dark brown lentils as these will hold up during cooking. We hope you find this recipe as delicious as we did.
2 cups onion diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup Tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon oregano, dried
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 can diced tomatoes in juice (28oz)
3 cups tomato juice
3 cups hot water
2 cups brown lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lime, juiced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 slices bacon, diced (optional)
Cook the bacon if your including in 2 quart pan until crisp. Remove onto paper towels and set aside.
Place the onions, peppers and garlic in the bacon dripping’s on medium-low heat. Cook until the onion begins to soften, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cumin and coriander. Cook for about a minute until fragrant and well coated stirring constantly. Add one cup of water and stir to combine. Add tomato juice, tomatoes, lentils and remaining water. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to medium-low and simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook for approximately 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.
Add chocolate, lime juice and bacon. Season with additional chilli, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a sour cream and coarsely chopped avocado (optional).
Our nutritional calculator put the calories at 197 with on 5g fat (2g sat) without the sour cream or avocado. In my next version I will try the addition of some smoked paprika.
Yield 10 cups
Modified from Cuisine at Home
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