Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vegetarian Risotto, I mean Chili

I'm hesitant to write about this risotto, oops, I mean chili because it looks NOTHING like the version from 101 Cookbooks that inspired me to make it in the first place. My chili was so thick you could stand a fork in it, and I probably should have added a lot more water than the 10 cups the recipe calls for. Because barley figures prominently, I'd almost call my version chili risotto. Having said that, it was just plain wonderful, so I'm going to write about it anyway.

I'll give you the link to Heidi Swanson's recipe right up front. My changes are as follows: I omitted the hot peppers and chickpeas (the chili powder made it spicy enough for my family, and I was out of chick peas). Then, after I had sauteed the onion, shallots, and spices, I realized that I did not have a single can or carton of diced tomatoes. That left me with only one solution: improvise like hell. I used a quarter jar of almost-too-old-to-use spaghetti sauce, a half-cup of leftover diced tomatoes, a quarter cup ketchup, and 6 finely diced tomatoes. It might sound like an odd combo, and Heidi Swanson would probably be aghast, but it actually worked in the end. In addition to this mixture, I added dry lentils, barley, and bulgar wheat.

Heidi has all kinds of ideas regarding great toppers for her chili. I left mine alone and loved it that way but added some fresh dill and cubes of feta for my blog photo. To my mind, it's not really chili season, but I'm so glad I have a pot of leftovers to last me a few days. If you're a fan of barley and bulgar, I suggest you try it. Instead of chili risotto, you'll probably end up with something far closer to the original recipe.

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