Friday, November 5, 2010


Mise en place, baby. From right to left: In the first bowl, onions, bell peppers, jalapenos. (Mince the jalapenos with a knife, do not attempt to rip them up with your hand and then touch your face when you sneak a bite of some seitan. If you do, try putting olive oil on the spot, it helps.) Second bowl, seitan and garlic. Third, canned tomato, cocoa powder, blackstrap molasses (I get them out ahead of time because molasses are really messy to pour fast). Fourth, pinto beans. The measuring cup has water and a semi-crushed bouillon cube in it, because I would probably forget the bouillon otherwise. The tiny cup has olive oil. Lastly, the spices are cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. Normally, I would make stock, but extra carrots, celery, and onions are heavier than bouillon, so I'm not.

First, dump the oil in the pot, heat it up. Add the peppers and onions and saute them for just a minute or two.

Add the seitan and garlic; saute everything for 7 or 8 minutes. If you didn't put the full 1/3rd a cup of oil in, be sure to watch the garlic. It will stick, and it will burn, if you don't. If that happens, everything will stick be okay, but your garlic'll be burned... and who wants that?

Dump in the first set of spices: Lots of chili powder, a little bit less cumin, a little bit less cinnamon. Stir it all up for a minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, cocoa powder, and molasses. Stir just a bit, then add the vegetable broth and beans. Let it start to simmer a bit, put on the lid, let it simmer away for a while.

I have no idea how to make this look attractive, but let me tell you: no fewer than 10 people have come in the kitchen asking what it was that smelled so good. It might be nothing but multiple shades of brown, but the smell and taste are heavenly.

It's still really unnatractive, but oh my goodness, it tastes delicious, and it smells like heaven but in a bowl. It's got a good hit of spiciness in it, nothing that'll make you cry or anything, but just enough for a good kick. The cocoa powder and cinnamon and molasses make a really rich, delicious flavor that makes it stand apart from most chili.


  1. It's not unattractive - I think it looks delicious! Now I'm craving a hearty bowl of chili! :)

  2. I agree with Leinana Two Moons, I think the chili looks really delicious - it almost looks like a bowl of stew. Yummy! :D

  3. I love cocoa powder in chili! So tasty.

  4. I linked to your blog in my last post because I think it's awesome. Keep at it!

  5. DAMN, that looks good. I love that you browned the seitan first. very nice... and bonus points for your excellent mise en place skills!

  6. I had the "making food look good through a picture when it really doesn't" problem with our dinner last night. We had Aglio e Olio which is fancy talk for Noodles and Olive Oil. It was pretty bland-looking but dang it was TASTY.

    Happy MoFo'ing!

  7. Actually, it's very attractive! Nice post, and I love your mise en place. I'm trying to do the same in my kitchen, but not always succeeding ;-)