Sunday, April 25, 2010
I'm from Texas. I eat chili.
Soy crumbles. Not the most attractive sounding meal component. I even call it "meal component" instead of "ingredient." This does not bode well.
My first meeting with soy crumbles was in Nicaragua. My college roommie was serving in the Peace Corps. How could I possibly pass up that opportunity to visit???
Food there is a very different thing than it is here in terms of variety, availability and price. I think the best way to explain its food and economic situations is this: everyone has abundant fresh mangoes because they grow on trees in the backyards, but Top Ramen is a luxury good.
Unsurprisingly, so was beef. Added to the cost was the fact that it was not necessarily guaranteed to be fresh or clean. No matter how hard you cook it, there's always a little fear. So, Erika stuck mostly to tvp (textured vegetable protein). While there, I ates eggs, potatoes and hamburger helper (and mangoes, of course!). Hamburger helper was graced wth soy protein. And you know what? Under that wacko cheese sauce, the tvp became perfectly acceptable.
Even here in the States, soy crumbles are an extraordinary way to get in some protein or stretch your meat on a budget. I'm curious how it's going to go into my chili. I feel it's cheeky and slightly dangerous to make Texas chili with veggie product instead of beef. I hear that it's advisable for wary families to add part tvp to part beef to either stretch the meat or introduce tvp on the path to switching it out entirely, just fyi.
As I was super lazy, I just hauled things out of my pantry and spice rack and tossed them in according to my whims. I only include for you estimates regarding the spices. This ended up being surprisingly good, given that I made the chili today out of fear that the beans and the chipotle pepper that's been hanging out in my fridge for a month would go bad and given the willy-nilly nature of its creation. Also, this is a vegan dish. Woohoo.
.25 c dry textured veggie protein. I reconstituted in 1 c water
16 oz tomato sauce
4 c white beans or pinto beans (I just had white on hand and in need of being used)
2 T chili powder
1 T cayenne (if you like it hot, like we do, and likewise with the chipotles)
1 tsp cumin
3 chipotle peppers, chopped (gives a strong chipotle flavor and heat)
1 small onion, chopped
1 16 oz can peeled tomatoes
1/2 T oregano
Toss it all in a pot and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.