Monday, January 4, 2010

Wendy's Chili (Vegetarian Copy Cat)


Another regular addition to my family maintenance style cooking for the 20 years I had children at home during my omnivore life was a Wendy's chili copy cat.  It was a wonderful low fat, high fiber meal in its beef incarnation.  It was Weight Watchers point friendly and everything could be tossed in the crock in the morning in about 10 minutes before heading out the door.  It is even lower in fat and higher in fiber in this vegetarian adaptation.  The fat that is present in beef is usually a concentrator and conveyor of flavor.  So whenever fat is reduced or cut back in a  recipe, the spices need to be ramped up to compensate.

Winner, Loser or Meh

This was okay to good.  Uncle Meat & Potatoes liked it a lot and had a few bowls, but he really liked the Spaghetti Sauce Bolognese better.  This is the downside of crocking 2-3 items on the same day while family lingers about.  I think the spices needed to be ramped up just a tiny bit more to compensate for the serious low fat nature of this dish.  Still, goodish.  It doesn't have as much flavor as the meat counterpart, so spicing will have to be addressed in any future appearances.

Recipe

I used a 5 1/2 quart crock for this

Ingredients 
  • 1 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 12 oz packages Morningstar Grillers Crumbles
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small cans diced green chilis and juice
  • 3 tomatoes, diced large
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz can pinto beans & liquid
  • 28 oz can red kidney beans & liquid
  • 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (or more)
  • 3 Tbl chili powder
  • 2 cups water (optional and varies)

Heat olive oil in a no stick skillet over medium high heat. Saute onion until translucent and then add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.  (This step can be omitted and the onions and garlic simply added to the crock but the flavor will not have as much depth - it's still good, I used to do it that way when I was rushed for time)  Add to the crock with all other ingredients.  Cover & cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  This overflows a 5 1/2 quart crock pot as it cooks, so use less water to compensate if that is the size you are using.  It seems to work perfectly in a 6 quart crock pot.

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