Veg­gie chili will hit the spot

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - J.M. HIRSCH

Slow cook­ers have le­gions of fans. I am not among them.

It’s partly philo­soph­i­cal, partly prac­ti­cal. Let’s start with the lat­ter. Truth is, I’m just not good at pro­duc­ing food that tastes all that great in a slow cooker. What­ever I make ends up ei­ther taste­less mush or wildly over­cooked or — on days when I’m re­ally shin­ing — both mushy and wildly over­cooked.

The philo­soph­i­cal side is even worse. I re­sent it when slowcooker recipes re­quire me to pre-cook in­gre­di­ents be­fore adding them to the slow cooker. And so many recipes seem to re­quire this. If I need to brown the meat and toast the spices and sim­mer the sauce all in dif­fer­ent pans be­fore I’m even al­lowed to touch the de­vice that’s sup­posed to be mak­ing my work eas­ier, I might as well just fin­ish (more quickly) the dish on the stove.

But I ac­cept that I am in the mi­nor­ity. I un­der­stand that many peo­ple who are not me some­how find th­ese de­vices use­ful. I ap­plaud those peo­ple.

And in their hon­our, I cre­ated a slow cooker recipe that is ev­ery­thing I think so many are not — easy and tasty. It takes just 10 min­utes to as­sem­ble in the morn­ing and can be ig­nored un­til you get home from work. 1 large yel­low onion, diced 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced 3 cups peeled and cubed but­ter­nut squash (about a 2½ pound-squash) 28-ounce (794 g) can crushe d toma­toes 3 cups (750 mL) veg­etable broth ½ cup (125 mL) red wine 15-ounce (426 g) can kid­ney beans, drained 15-ounce (426 g) can great north­ern or other white beans, drained 8-ounce (226 g) bag frozen bell pep­per strips 6-ounce (170 mL) can tomato paste 6 cloves garlic, minced Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar 1 tbsp (15 mL) co­coa pow­der 1 tsp (5 mL) cin­na­mon

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin

In a 6-quart slow cooker, com­bine all in­gre­di­ents ex­cept the salt and pep­per, hot sauce, sour cream, cilantro and tor­tilla chips. Stir well, then cover and turn on the cooker. Let cook for on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. The chili can be served any time after the squash and sweet potato are ten­der.

When ready to serve, sea­son with salt and pep­per and hot sauce. Serve topped with sour cream, cilantro and crushed tor­tilla chips.

Does ev­ery­one in the fam­ily pre­fer a dif­fer­ent heat level in their chili?

With this recipe, the so­lu­tion is easy. Just leave out the hot sauce and let each per­son add it at the ta­ble.

Matthew Mead/The As­so­ci­ated Press

This veg­e­tar­ian chili takes just 10 min­utes to as­sem­ble.

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