Roasted Winter Root Chili with Corn and Red Pepper Salsa

Serves: 4 Time: 6 hours Difficulty Level: Easy

I could totally survive without meat. I am a veggie lover. I always have been. I love experimenting with different vegetables in different dishes. Just ask J-Wiz. He probably eats more veggies than he is aware of. I will sneak them in and he won’t even know!

I accept all challenges, focusing on the persnickety. It’s my main goal in life. I did good this weekend. I successfully fed the pickiest of all 11 year olds. J-Wiz’s nephew. Pickier than all get out. Ate four plates of Chicken Fried Rice! He had no idea there were rutabagas and ginger root in it until after he ate. Muahahahaaaa! Mission complete! Sucker! Alright, alright, I’m getting off the subject.

I love beets and they are in season as we speak. I know, I know… eew…gross…beets…yuck. Well, I’m not talking about those pickled beet slice things, that just sit there all lonely, on the salad bar and never seen to get touched. I’m talking about fresh, sweet, heavenly home-grown beets. They are a root and not only packed with vitamins and minerals, but don an absolutely breath-taking color red. Back in the day, beet juice was actually used as a dye. Just a little fun fact. I used to boil mine with a little ginger root of course, (you can tell I love the stuff) and save the red liquid to add to my smoothies. It’s a great method! I would recommend it highly! But now I roast them. Roasting gives the beets more… UMPH. That’s the only way I can explain it. Beets have a high sugar content. So be aware of that, health wise. Otherwise, just know that the sugar will caramelize. Yes, that’s right caramelize! Interested now?

I made this dish last Thursday, after all of the Turkey Day leftovers were gone. We needed something light. Something that our digestive systems would thank us for later. I had four beets, that I had roasted earlier in the week, staring at me from the fridge. Beckoning me. MMM. What are you going to make, they taunted. Wanting to use my crock pot, I decided on chili. Perfect for a cold, rainy-when-it-should-be-snowing day. I originally made a Roasted Beet Chili once when experimenting with low-acidic dishes. **Fun Fact- Adding a half of a raw potato will absorb some of the acid out of a pot of tomato-based chili! Just simmer along and pull it out before serving! Cool, right? Taking advantage of the winter vegetable wonderland that I had in my refrigerator, this is what I came up with.

What you’ll need:

-1 bunch of beets, roasted (usually 3-4 beets, wrap individually in foil and roast in 375 degree oven for one hour)
-1 large rutabaga
-2 carrots
-2 handfuls of kale, torn into bite sized pieces
-1/2 onion, chopped
-2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 8oz can of tomato sauce
-1/2 Tbsp cumin
-2 Tbsp chili powder
-1 heaping Tbsp smoked paprika
-1/8 tsp cinnamon (or just a pinch)
-1 tsp oregano
-2 Tbsp Homemade Sofrito, find mt recipe at this link- https://ashleyalaheart.com/2013/11/18/homemade-smoked-sofrito/ (optional)
-can of your favorite beans (optional)
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, you get the hint
——————–
1 bunch of cilantro
1 lime, cut in half
——————–
-1 cup of fresh or frozen corn, thawed)
-1 Tbsp of diced red bell pepper, or pimento if you wish
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp onion powder

Alright, let’s get started. If you use a crock pot on the regular, then you already know it’s super easy. Set it and forget it! So from this point in, this blog will be mostly pictures. I know that’s okay with y’all. I know I tend to ramble.

Turn your crock pot or slow cooker on high ahead of time. You don’t really have to do this, but it give comfort. Like a nice pre-heated oven. Now get all your winter veggies out and ready to get going. All the heavy hitters. I’ll do the introductions.

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This is Kale, he is a leafy green that is mild in flavor. You can find him along side the collard greens and turnip greens but is nowhere near as bitter and fibrous. Kale doesn’t require a long cooking time. He’s delicately similar to spinach. He can even be enjoyed in salads and smoothies, raw.

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Meet Ms. Rutabaga. She’s a root vegetable that looks very similar to a turnip, has the texture kind of like a potato, but tastes like cabbage. Whatta mouthful! She’s a busy lady. There’s more. Like most women, she’s complicated. She needs to be peeled before use. She will be covered in a thick wax! This is for health AND cosmetic reasons!

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This is a carrot. Duh.

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Finally! Here are the famous oven roasted beets. Like I said, wrap each in foil, roast at 375 for about an hour. And if you don’t want it to look like a bloody murder scene right in your kitchen, then for God’s sakes, where rubber gloves and work with them over an old towel or paper plate.

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Puree the beets in your food processor, blender. If you want to kick their ass, use your Ninja.

This is what it should look like.

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Now get your prep on! By prep I mean cut up all your vegetables. Chop the kale, rutabaga, onion, garlic, and carrot. Throw all of that in your crock pot along with the pureed beets. The beets actually act like tomato paste would.

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Measure out all of your spices: cumin, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon, oregano. Add as much cayenne pepper or red pepper flake as you’d like. Can’t handle spicy? Because you’re a wimp? Booo! Then don’t add it…baby! Oh! Opps, did I type that?

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Combine the spices with the 8oz can of tomato sauce. Come on now. Did you really think I was going to make chili with absolutely no tomato anything? That would be weird! (as if beet chili isn’t weird enough)

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Okay! Time to stir the pot! Let’s get things going! Pour the sauce into the crock pot/ slow cooker and mix everything together. It WILL seem too thick but always remember, THE CROCK POT CREATES MOISTURE! If you care about anything holy in life, please, please, PLEASE never add a shit ton of liquid into your crock pot chili. Unless you’re making a clear broth soup or something like that!

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For some unexplained reason, I like to set my crock pot on high for the first hour or two and then continue on low. I have no idea if this makes a difference. Just something quirky that I do. So anyway, if you don’t have the time to do that, set the crock pot on high for about 4-4 1/2 hours or on low for 6+ hours.

I have no more pictures! Blasphemy! I’m sorry! The Corn Salsa was a last minute-thrown together-salsa. But aren’t those the BEST salsas anyways?! I was also on my dinner break from work and I was hungry.

Combine the corn, diced red pepper or pimento, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Chop and add about a Tbsp of fresh cilantro (I like a lot) and squeeze one half of lime’s juice over the mixture and stir. Set aside.

When you are ready to serve, squeeze the other half of lime into the chili and mix, along with a small hand full of coarsely chopped cilantro. This will add some cool freshness and brighten the chili up. After all, how would you feel after sweating in a hot tub or hot ass sauna for 6+ hours? Beat! Exhausted! Pooped!

After everybody has been energized, dish up the chili and top with the corn salsa. Belive it or not, this dish is completely VEGAN! If you want to add some sour cream and cheese, go ahead! Still Vegetarian! Boom.

*Because of the natural sweetness of the beets, carrots, and rutabagas you may want to balance it out with a little extra salt. Or just add bacon! JUST KIDDING!….but you could if you wanted….

Hope you enjoy! Thank you!

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