07-15-2015 Journal–A Maine Chili Day!   1 comment

Every summer I set aside a few special days for restocking the shelves for winter. One of those days is spent making a large batch of salsa and the another is for for making of a huge batch of chili.  The salsa is canned for storage while the chili is normally frozen. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing better than enjoying a steaming hot bowl of spicy chili with a bit of cheddar cheese melted on top while watching a Maine snowstorm through the kitchen window.

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My salsa day was completed last week and the finished product is on the shelf.  I decided this year to break with tradition and to make a different style of meatless chili, one that can be canned instead of frozen. I love experimenting and going-outside-the-box whenever possible and today’s the day.

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This chili is made from a number of off-the-shelf ingredients as well as fresh peppers from the garden.  For the first time in my life I’ll be making a non-meat chili using a Vegan approved meat substitute made from soy. I’ve always loved other soy products and I’m long overdue trying it in my chili.  This ingredient comes freeze dried and requires rehydrating in a vegetable broth before use. All preparations from that point on are identical as when using ground beef. I was more than a bit surprised when the soy looked and felt exactly like regular browned ground beef.

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I spent time yesterday cleaning and dicing jalapeño and Fresno peppers which will supply some of the heat needed for this chili.  Then I diced a few large white and red onions for that special flavor they provide.  Add to that a quantity of sweet bell peppers of assorted colors and you’re well on your way to a beautiful dish.

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Canning the chili this time around is new.  Normally to can chili containing meat you need a pressure canner.  By removing the meat, replacing it with soy, and increasing the acid level, I can now can the chili instead of freezing it.  I’ve always disliked freezing chili because it changes both the texture and taste. I’m hoping this experiment will keep the chili as close to the way it was originally prepared as possible.

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I’m also trying something new for this batch. Normally you seal the jar with a metal lid which is then held in place by a metal band.  Those bands are notorious for corroding and becoming difficult to remove. This year I’m sealing them exactly that way but just after the lids “click” to indicate a good seal, I’m removing the metal bands and covering the lid with a white plastic screw cap. This will keep the seal intact and keep the lid and top of the jar much cleaner during storage.

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The final result is fifteen and half quarts of a flavorful, hot, and spicy Black Bean & Corn chili. My mouth is already watering.

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One response to “07-15-2015 Journal–A Maine Chili Day!

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  1. awsome!!! my mouth is watering as well 🙂 just started following you, I have a vegan recipe/lifestyle & Cruelty-free beauty Blog as well, http://www.veganneeds.com
    so glad I found your blog & Happy to connect with you 🙂

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