Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer or Winter!

   Can you have chili in the Summer? Some people think that it's only a Winter weather dish, but I don't care if it's Summer or Winter, if I want one I will have it! Especially if it's vegetarian chili... it's basically a veggie stew! I wasn't sure if it would be as satisfying as the meaty version so I decided to serve it with a large baked potato. I shouldn't have worried about it being "enough", it's super filling, but I just loved it spooned over the baked potato (I'm Polish - I eat potatoes like it's candy!) and sprinkled with some cheese. Check it out:


*  1 cup dry red lentils
*  1 large onion, chopped
*  1 15oz can red beans, rinsed and drained
*  1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
*  2 15oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
*  2 packs McCormick reduced sodium chili spice
*  1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
*  1 tbsp olive oil

*  4 large potatoes
*  4 tbsp shredded cheese (I used mixed cheeses)


1. Wash and scrub potatoes, dry them with a paper towel, pierce with a fork and wrap into aluminum foil. Bake at 400F for 60-90 minutes (depending on the size of the potato).
2. In the meantime, in a Dutch oven heat the olive oil and saute onions for 4-5 minutes.
3. Add dry lentils and cook for 5 minutes constantly stirring.
4. Add tomatoes (with the juice), beans, McCormick spices, cilantro, and 1 cup of water, lower the heat and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are cooked (but not mushy). Add some more water during the cooking if needed - lentils will soak up some of it.
5. Slice potato in half, top with as much chili as you like, sprinkle with shredded cheese and enjoy.

   I cooked my lentils to the point where they were still a little bit crunchy, that's how I like it here. I feel like they give this dish a nice texture and don't make it mushy and one-dimensional. Of course you can cook your longer if you are too lazy to chew, but I encourage you to try them this way. You can also add some hot sauce (as Justin did) and a dollop of sour cream if that's what you like.


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