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Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Halloween! Which I hate.

I don't like wearing costumes and I don't like adults acting silly and I hate when people dress like whores and I don't like candy. Well, I kind of like candy, but I don't eat it often enough so it makes me feel sick. But I like Butterfingers, and I'm still mad at Nestlé and sort of boycott them. Since Butterfingers aren't exactly a necessity, I don't buy them, I just steal them from the kids at Halloween. Actually, I don't even steal them. They give them to me. It's some sort of learned helplessness thing.

I was going to make turkey chili tonight, because my mom mentioned she might enjoy some chili. And she's coming over tonight. But then I remembered my mother-in-law would also be here, the French one. I'm pretty sure chili isn't her sort of thing, so I was going to make something else. I also thought it might be nice to make something vegetarian for my middle child who, against everything we omnivores have ever taught him, is a vegetarian. But then I decided I really wanted chili, even though my mother in law might not like it. Since it's her birthday, I figured she could make do with cake and champagne. Besides, at some point during lunch at Mr. Friendly's, I became obsessed with the idea of Pumpkin Chili.

As I always do when I want to make something new, I Googled. There were plenty of recipes for Pumpkin Chili. Unfortunately, most of them involved pumpkin puree and I wanted chunks of pumpkin. Most of them also involved meat, which I didn't want to include. So, I called my friend Gabrielle, who used to cook at Rosewood Market, home of many delicious vegetarian treats, to see if my idea was gross. She did not think it was gross and that was all the confirmation I needed. Also at some point during the day, I decided turnips must be included. I didn't try turnips until I was almost thirty and, guess what, they are really good*! So...

Pumpkin Chili

First, you will need to deal with the pumpkin. In the past, I've roasted pumpkin to separate the meat from the skin, but I didn't have that kind of time and I didn't want it completely cooked. Gabrielle told me I could microwave the pumpkin. I cut my small pumpkin in half, scooped out the seeds and put it in a microwave-safe container with about an inch of water. I nuked it for five minutes, which softened it enough that I could easily slice away the skin. I chopped the pumpkin into rough one inch cubes.

Next up, roux. I am very fancy. I like to start my soup with a roux. You can, too! Roux is a simple way of saying "something greasy mixed with something grainy." In this case, I melted a stick of butter in a pan and heated it with1/2 cup olive oil. Then I added 1/2 cup corn meal and whisked them all together. Don't get all uptight about all the butter and olive oil - no meat will be added, so we're pretty much done with the fat portion of the recipe. Besides, fat is good for your skin. Eat it!

I added the chopped pumpkin (about 8 cups) to the roux and stirred it in between peeling and chopping a huge turnip. I added the chopped turnip (about 4 cups) to the pot and continued to stir...

While chopping a large onion, 2 red bell peppers and several cloves of garlic. Which I also added to the pot, stirring intermittently the whole time. All in all, I cooked the stuff for about 10 minutes before adding 4-5 cups vegetarian stock and 2 cans of Rotel Tomatoes.

Next, I added the following:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder.
  • 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and cumin.
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste.
  • 2 cups frozen corn.
  • Several splashes Worcestershire Sauce.
  • 2 cans, drained, of chili beans.
Now, about that Worcestershire Sauce, I know it isn't actually vegetarian. I know this not because I'm smart, but because my friend Gabrielle told me. It has anchovies in it. I checked the ingredients. This is true information. I like to add it to vegetarian dishes, because it suggests the taste of meat and makes people feel like they got a meal. I feel bad about this now. There are vegetarian versions, sold at Rosewood Market and others, which I will purchase from this day forward. My child is not a strict vegetarian (according to him, he is "the kind of vegetarian who sometimes eats sausage." But I digress.)

Now, you let it cook for a good long while. I don't know how long, because I started around noon and left it on the stove until I served it. I have no recollection whatsoever how long I left the heat on. If you make it, please email me and let me know how long it needs to simmer. Thanks.

I served it with sides of chopped green onions, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. I liked it and - unless everyone else was faking to make me feel good - everyone else liked it, too. Some of those people (who shall remain nameless, because I am a nice person) haven't been shy in the past about criticizing me, so I'm going to guess they weren't faking. Both my mother and mother in law had two bowls. There were no leftovers. And the vegetarian-who-sometimes-eats-sausage thought it was awesome.

Namasté, y'all!

* PSA for Low Carbers: Turnips are low in carbs and make excellent raw fries. You know raw fries, right? Those half fried crispy chips you get in bars. Yum. 'Specially when you're kind of drunk.

5 comments:

I Want That! said...

So about those turnip chips...as a low-carber who might sometimes get off track with her healthy eating when she is sorta drunk (but only on the weekends of course-or after 5pm on weekdays at least), I need to know how to make these! Plus, it sounds like a great way for me to find out if I like turnips.

Annie said...

Hmmmm...they are very easy, but I want to make them again before I send out the recipe. I might have time to get a little tipsy this weekend!

Lizzie said...

I love Halloween! And pumpkin chili! Even if I've never had it. Thanks for the recipe. Will make this and report back to you in the form of bragging that I successfully made something with lots of ingredients.

Turnip Requester said...

Great-can't wait to try these! Please feel free to use me as an excuse to treat yourself to a little mid-week happy hour. I'll keep an eye out for the recipe-thanks!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this - I love your writing style. I dislike halloween too, but the recipe looks fantastic!