Slow Cooking

I bought myself a slow cooker, aka crockpot, for the first time and I've been trying out a lot of recipes. The first ones I tried came from an older cookbook and quite frankly they weren't all that great.

Then I got Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. After trying a few recipes, I was so confident about the quality of their work, I made their Vegetarian Chili for the first time for a dinner party. I doubled the recipe and used mild, chopped, canned green chiles as opposed to the jalapenos. Next time, I would halve the amount of brown sugar; it was a bit too sweet for my taste. Still, it was a big hit with the diners and there were lots of requests for the recipe. Here is the original recipe without any of my noted modifications:

Vegetarian Chili sin Carne serves 4
Cooker: Medium or large round or oval
Settings and Cook Times: HIGH for 1 hour, then LOW for 4 to 6 hours

Put in slow cooker and let stand for 15 minutes:
  • 1/3 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2/3 cup boiling water (or replace some of the water with juice drained off the diced tomatoes)
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a large skillet and saute 5 - 10 min, until softened:
  • 2 med-size yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 med-size green, red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Transfer sauted vegetables into cooker. Add to the cooker:
  • 1 - 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 - 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 - 15oz cans red kidney or pinto or black beans or combo, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbs chopped canned jalapeno
  • 2 tbs chili powder or pure New Mexican chile powder, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbs ground cumin
  • 2 tbs light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground allspice
Stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
Turn the cooker to LOW and cook for 4 to 6 hours. During the last hour, season with salt. Serve the chili in bowls topped with:
  • grated Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses
  • sliced ripe California black olives
  • sliced avocado
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • sour cream
You can also serve the chili over hot brown rice and accompany with warm cornbread and a big green salad.

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