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I originally made this soup for 300 people and with loads of butter. The curry flavor was subtle yet present enough to make people wonder why this soup was different from the previous version. Wanting to adapt this recipe to make it vegan and guiltless–yet still rich and satisfying–I swapped the butter for extra-virgin olive oil. By emulsifying it in at the end of the cooking process, the soup thickened and became creamy–much like a vinaigrette behaves once the oil has been added.

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
4 stalks celery, medium dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, curry powder, and coriander and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, pour in 3 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
5. Puree soup until smooth, while gradually pouring in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
6. Adjust seasoning to taste.

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Notes: Could use a bit more coriander, and perhaps some cumin for some smokiness.

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I first time made this chili I served it to two meat-loving men, who both couldn’t believe that it was vegan. The first recipe attempt was spot-on, and I had to be sure it wasn’t a fluke. Attempt number two is very similar to number one, with some minor changes: changed the type of oil and reduced it from 3 to 2 Tbsp, increased beer from 9 to 12 oz (simply because it makes more sense, and I was making it at 11 a.m. on a Monday, which, even for me, is too early for a drink), corrected an error in the preparation method, increased cooking time. My S.S. preferred this attempt over the first.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup textured vegetable protein
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
12 oz beer of your choice (use gluten-free beer to make the recipe gluten-free)
1 28-oz can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 4-oz can fire-roasted green chiles
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, soak the textured vegetable protein in hot water. Drain, and then add to the pot along with the paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Pour in the beer and reduce by half, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits.
4. Crush the tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the beans and green chiles.
5. Cover the ingredients with water (about 1 quart). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick (chili will continue to thicken as it sits).
6. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with sliced scallions (optional).

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The result? Very tasty, not as spicy as last time. Increase cayenne pepper to 1 tsp, but otherwise this one is getting close to where I want it to be!

As promised in this recent post, I prepared a mean chili for last weekend’s Super Bowl.

Start by rendering bacon in a bit of oil in a large pot. Once slightly crispy, remove the bacon, leaving the bacon fat in the pot, and set aside. Sweat chopped onions and garlic in the fat. (For a spicier version, add chopped jalape├▒os to the party at this point.)

Once the onions are translucent, add the spices and toast for 1-2 minutes: paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, cinnamon and cocoa powder all made it into my chili. (Here is when you should deglaze with a bottle of beer and allow it to reduce, a step which I forgot.)

Now add ground beef and cook until it just loses its pink color, stirring often to break the meat apart. Pour in canned diced tomatoes, rinsed canned black beans and the reserved bacon and add enough chicken broth to cover.

Over low heat, strirring occasionally, cook the chili until the liquid has mostly evaporated, which, for me, took about two hours. Season with salt to taste.

 

I am not known for taking the most artistic photographs, nor am I known to make particularly beautiful food. This post does nothing to refute these things. In fact, it supports them. But I guess that’s what I love about bolognese: the less attractive, the more enjoyable.

To make this sloppy wonder, start by gently cooking finely diced carrots, onions and celery in oil, taking care not to brown the vegetables. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Once the vegetables are soft, deglaze the pan with white wine. After most of the liquid has evaporated, add ground beef. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until most of the pink is gone. Pour in a big can of peeled, whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand) and toss in herbs of your choice (I used dried oregano and fresh thyme, and wished I had a bay leaf). Simmer gently for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Click to read the trick to finishing the sauce, as well as advice on what to wear when you eat it