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Grondel Chili

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This is our standard-issue recipe for chili. One notable feature is that this chili is vegan (which we discovered after we'd been preparing it for years) -- should you need to feed some hungry vegans, you don't have to make something with tofu. We often serve this chili as a component of Grondel Tacos, which are typically not vegan (they contain eggs and cheese). Plaintext version.



If you're not familiar -- ghost peppers (bhut jolokia) are among the spiciest in the world, but independently of their brutal 1 megascoville heat rating, they famously also have their own warm, exquisite flavor. If you enjoy eating very spicy foods, we recommend adding (finely minced) fresh ghost pepper to the chili -- it will satisfy your scoville needs and add a unique flavor that's hard to get any other way. Though we love extremely spicy foods, experimental results suggest that an entire fresh pepper in a pot of chili is a bit much. Ghost peppers get less spicy as they age, but their special flavor weakens as well, so if you're using powdered or old ghost pepper, be advised. If you add ghost peppers, do not add them with the spices, onions and other peppers, or you will basically fill your kitchen with tear gas. Add the ghost peppers with the tomatoes instead.


Put all the beans (including the canned ones) into a colander and rinse well. You can rinse and let them drip while you do get the vegetables started. Rinsing well may reduce flatulence. Dice the onions and peppers as large or small as you like. Carrots should be cut into long quarters and then cut crosswise into small quarter-cylinders a few mm tall. Add garlic, spices and vegetables, along with maybe 2 tsp of olive oil, to the bottom of a large pot over high heat. Sizzle everything well until the onions start to caramelize a bit. Add the tomatoes and two more tomato cans' worth of water. Pour in the lemon juice, beans and either oats (which will dissolve and thicken the chili) or TVP (which will absorb water and spices and take on a texture similar to ground beef). Let the thing simmer for a while over just enough heat that it continues bubbling. It will probably take about 45 minutes to an hour to cook fully, but it won't hurt anything to cook for longer than an hour, so if you're uncertain, just let it keep truckin'. You will have to stir from time to time to break the skin that forms on the top and possibly keep the chili from burning to the pan. Not only should the lentils be soft well before it's done, but everything should be really well cooked down and the chili should start to get quite thick.


There are a lot of ways to serve this chili. Putting some fresh avocado chunks and minced cilantro on top is ideal if you have those ingredients on hand. We often eat it plain or over rice (preserving veganity). A good method for non-vegans is to crumble in some cheese and mix it in well. Of course, the canonical serving method, especially for a fresh pot of chili, is as the core of Grondel Tacos.