Friday, January 15, 2010

Lentil Chili to the Rescue

While there have been colder places around the country since the beginning of the new year, it's been too cold for my taste here in Orlando recently. The frosty air that lasted throughout the day, not just early morning as usual in the winter, had me at the kitchen counter, knife in hand, making many mounds of mirapoix as the flavor starter for one soup after another.

Years ago, I occasionally made a big pot of lentil chili following Molly Katzen's instructions from one of her Moosewood cookbooks. I no longer have that particular volume and a search online didn't produce the same version. The one I recall, had a headnote cautioning to be sure to use the full amount of garlic cloves listed, as once cooked, the chili would not be overpowered by 10-12 cloves of garlic.

While hunting in cyberspace for Katzen's version, I found a link to
Heidi Swanson's Pierce Street Vegetarian Chili. It too had an abundance of garlic, but in addition some wonderful heat generating components which were absent from the Katzen recipe.

A quick survey of my pantry and fridge, assured me I had the necessary ingredients to give lentil chili a try. Heidi's recipe makes a giant pot of chili (serves 12). I used approximately half the amounts called for and omitted the chickpeas. The main ingredients in my version included 2 cups lentils,1/2 cup bulgur wheat and 1/2 cup pearled barley.

I appropriately cut back on the accompanying flavorings, but was generous with the garlic (not shown in the image above). The result? A fabulous taste treat. Warm, nurturing, and palate pleasing. Especially if served with a generous drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

As Mikey used to say: "try it, you'll like it".

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