Chipotle Mushroom Sauce

Chipotle Mushrooms

Spicy, smokey, and delicious!

We’ve just got back from a 5 day jaunt to Mexico where we ate fruit and vegetables almost exclusively because most other dishes contained contraband. Although I did have a couple of occasions where I was craving carbs (for some reason, there wasn’t a tortilla chip in sight), I came back home with a slew of ideas for dishes to add to our repertoire, and I didn’t put on any weight!!!!!

The only non-main-stream ingredient here is Chipotle in Adobo Sauce, which is available in standard food stores in California and here in Washington, and I’m guessing it’s available pretty much everywhere in the States, but I’m not so sure about other places in the world. A quick Google search shows that sells it, so if you’re in England, you can get hold of it. You’ll probably want to freeze the chipotles that you don’t use here in a freezer bag or box, as you won’t be using a whole tin of the things in this dish.

This recipe is moderately hot by my standards. If you’re not into hot foods, reduce the amount of chipotle to 1 or 2 tsps and check before adding any more. I’ve eaten it scooped up on tortilla chips, and as a sauce with rice, but I think it could also be included as a side for any Mexican meal, or as a relish on a veggie burger.

Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side dish/relish

1 tsp margarine/oil
1/2 large (~6 oz) onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1 large/3 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce
8 fl oz (1 cup) tinned tomatoes

Heat the fat in a saucepan, and cook the onions for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
Wash and slice the mushrooms, and add them to the onion along with the salt, and continue cooking on a medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are completely soft.
Once the veggies are soft, add the garlic, and allow to warm through for a minute or two.
Put the chipotle in adobo sauce in the blender with the tomatoes, and briefly blend to get a chunky sauce.
Add the tomatoes to the mushrooms, and simmer for 5 minutes until the flavors have developed.


Vegan Bean and Vegetable Chili

vegetarian-chiliI don’t use meat substitutes much. The vast majority of the meat substitutes that I’ve seen include gluten for texture, stretch and bulk. We recently happened upon some gluten free, tinned vegan chili which my husband loves for chili cheese fries, but it doesn’t have anywhere near enough vegetables in it for my liking. Yes, I know! Chili cheese fries is an indulgence, not a health food ….. but here we can leave the indulgence for the potatoes, and the chili can be loaded with veggies and fiber, and just look and taste the part.

I also know that Textured Soy/Vegetable Protein has a bad name. Somewhere in the dim and distant past I read about it containing chemicals that you don’t really want to be eating, so we haven’t had it. Upon a more recent review, however, I found that the chemicals are indeed used in the standard version of TVP (apparently removed before it’s sold …. uh huh), but the organic stuff doesn’t even get a whiff of those chemicals in the first place. Yes, it is more expensive, but if it means I’m happy we can eat it and I can widen the variety of food stuffs that I can eat, and I have yet another way to present veggies to my kids, then that’s the price I pay.

Serves 6-8

1 cup organic TVP/TSP
1 tbsp mushroom powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oil/margarine
1/4 of a large onion (1/2 cup), diced
1 lb mixed vegetables cut into <1″chunks (e.g. pepper strips, mushroom chunks, courgette/zucchini slices – quartered, tiny broccoli/cauliflower florets)
1 fresh jalapeños, finely minced or 1 tsp chili flakes
1 large clove garlic
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin OR 1/4 tsp caraway seeds (for a change)
1/4 tsp lemon juice
~14 oz diced tinned tomato in juice (this won’t look enough to start off with)
2 tbsp tomato paste OR minced sun-dried tomatoes
8 – 16 oz cooked, drained, pinto or black beans

Put the TVP, mushroom powder, and salt in a bowl, and stir in 1 cup of boiling water, and leave it to soak.

In a large pan, heat the fat and fry the onion and any hard vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower) for 5-10 minutes.

Once the onions have softened, add the garlic, and spices to them, and heat through for a few seconds, then add the remaining vegetables (except tomatoes) and cook for another 5-10 minutes until they too have started to soften.

Add the TVP, lemon juice, tomatoes, tomato paste, and beans, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the juice has thickened and the TVP has browned slightly.

Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve in flat breads, with rice, crusty bread, jacket/baked potatoes, or (of course), chunky cut potato fries/chips and a sprinkling of vegan cheese.

Black Bean Chili

There’s something very soothing and comforting about a plate of veggies and beans. Kind to the waistline, wallet, and tummy (and boy, do I need food that’s kind to my tummy!) My mother in law (only half seriously) says that anything nice is either expensive, immoral, or fattening; I’ll have to let her know I’ve found an exception.

The quantity of jalapeño that I’ve stated delivers a mild chili, which doesn’t mean it’s tasteless (my kids cleared their plates today), but if you’re used to a bit of heat in your food, you might want to increase the quantity a little.

Black bean chili and Mexican rice

Black Bean Chili served with Mexican Rice and Ranchero Sauce. Guacamole and tortillas could be added, if you have a hungry pack to feed.

2 tsps canola oil
1/4 large onion, chopped
1 courgette/zucchini or fresh pepper or 4 oz mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 – 1 fresh jalapeño chili, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
1/8 tsp caraway seeds
2 tins black beans, undrained
salt to taste (this will depend on how salty your beans are)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
fresh cilantro (leaf coriander) to garnish, if desired

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium – high heat.

Add the vegetables, cooking until the onion is transparent and the vegetables are starting to brown, stirring occasionally.

Add the jalapeño, garlic, cumin, caraway seeds, and cook for a minute.

Add the beans along with their juices (this should be just enough to cover the beans and veggies; don’t use all of it if there is too much), and allow to simmer to thicken the liquid and finish cooking the veggies. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and lemon juice, and serve hot, garnished with the cilantro (coriander leaf) if using.

Weekday Bean Chilli

Part of my motivation for developing this blog is my daughters’ imminent departures from the family home, and the desire to provide them with easy access to the recipes they are familiar with. When I say ‘imminent’, I mean in 6 to 9 years, but that sort of time evaporates when you’re bringing up children, right? Well, this recipe is a good starter. It’s healthy, it’s cheap, and it’s quick. Don’t be fooled; although the list of ingredients is somewhat longer than I normally care for, there’s little more to this than simmering everything together. It’s also ripe for variations. I’ve used small cauliflower florets and diced courgette instead of the carrot, and I’m pretty sure that cooked, diced potato would work well, too.

It’s not a fancy dish; it’s a hearty, comforting, healthy weekday meal (suitable for students to stir up for a crowd – this serves about 6, but you can double up easily), and just happens to be a welcome change from rich, heavy fare that prevails at this time of year, so we had it yesterday for dinner. We like ours fairly mild, but you can use more chipotle chilli, if you want it hotter. A note about the dried mushroom powder: I take a handful of regular dried mushrooms, and grind them briefly in an electric coffee grinder that I reserve for spices. I then store the powder in an old spice/herb jar. They’re not essential to this dish, but they really do bring the dish together and make it heartier.

Bean Chilli

2 tsps canola oil or non-hydrogenated margarine
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tins beans (black, red, pinto all work well), drained
1 cup green beans
1/2 large tin (14 fl. oz.) of plain chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cm cube of chipotle chili in adobo sauce (check for gluten), minced; or a dash of cayenne
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp chickpea miso (optional – for enriching the stew)
1/2 tsp salt (smokey if liked)
5 tbsp powdered dried mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaf)
2 – 4 tsps sugar (if required to counteract sharp tinned tomatoes)

Heat the canola oil or margarine in a large saucepan.

Fry the carrot and onion over medium high heat until the onion is translucent (~5-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Add the chopped garlic, and cook for a minute or two.

Sprinkle the cumin over the cooking vegetables; stir and cook for a minute (spices will tend to absorb the oil, which is why I cook the onion and garlic first).

Add the remaining ingredients except for the sugar and cilantro; stir, and allow the flavors to meld over a medium heat for 20 minutes.

Add the cilantro, then taste, and adjust seasoning with sugar if needed to counteract the tomatoes’ acidity.

Serve with quinoa, rice, under mashed potato as a pie, with garlic bread, cold out of the fridge ….