Friday, January 8, 2010

Mock Monk Chili

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Several months ago, we went to Monk's Kettle, a San Francisco bar and eatery. One memorable dish was their vegan chili, which had a smooth soup base and full of mushrooms and carrots. We both loved it so much. Since then, I've thought about creating my version of the same chili.

My attempt at the Monk's Kettle vegan chili was good, but not perfect. It was certainly savory and delicious, but sort of different from what we had. Nevertheless, I thought it's a good enough dish to make it blog-worthy.

You'll need:
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground oregano
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • 6 medium or large carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pint of oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pint of cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
In a large pot, sweat onion and jalapeno pepper in canola oil over medium low heat until vegetables are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, chili powder, and oregano. Cook for another minute, or until the spices are fragrant. Add black beans, tomatoes, vegetable stock/water. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Using a stand blender or immersion blender and process the mixture until it is smooth. Add carrots. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

I think the secret ingredient here is the ground coriander. I don't think you can taste it in the final product, but it gives the chili a nice, well-rounded flavor. I tend to find chili recipes that consist mostly of chili powder to taste too harsh. The mushrooms really make this dish meaty and substantial. It's such a fun and warm recipe for cold wet days.

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