Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cincinnati Chili with Lentils

I know there’s a group of Cincinnatians out there just cringing right now. I am messing with a classic. However, you probably weren’t too thrilled with my use of bison and TVP in my last entry either. This adaptation was inspired by a recipe a friend of mine e-mailed to me. It was another version of Cincinnati Chili with Lentils. It started me thinking about using lentils in the recipe in my previous post. So, I gave it a try and it turned out pretty well. No, it’s not exactly the same. However, if you are looking for a healthier, vegetarian, or a more economical alternative, this will work. It also passed with flying colors with the rest of the household, which is a major plus.

Cincinnati Chili with Lentils

3 cups lentils
9 cups broth
3 cups onion, finely chopped
4 ½ cloves garlic, minced
22.5 oz tomato sauce
3 Tbsp chili powder
3 Tbsp chocolate chips
1 ½ Tbsp vinegar
3 Tbsp honey
1 ½ Tbsp pumpkin pie spice*
1 ½ tsp cumin
¾ tsp cardamom
3/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon

Place all ingredients in stock pot. Bring to a simmer (you may want to save adding the chocolate chips until now) and let simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When lentils are cooked, blend mixture. I used my immersion blender, but you can blend a bit at a time in a regular blender. This will give it the same texture as the original recipe.

Serve over spaghetti with the following toppings:
Shredded cheddar cheese (for a 3-way) plus
Red beans OR chopped onions (for a 4-way)
Red beans AND chopped onions (for a 5-way)

*Pumpkin Pie Spice (substitute, 1 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

While we all loved this, we are still playing around with the technique of making this recipe.  Why?  Because we think it's fun to experiment with different ways of doing things.  We're going to try running the lentils alone through the grinder to see what that does to the texture and I'm going to try making this in the crockpot.  I will ammend this post with the results of our effort - so be sure to check back!

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