I had a big bowl of green stuff.

Gorgeous!

It has actually been consistently cold here this week.  Lately it seems like it is 75° one day and 30° the next, you never know if you should have your heater on or the air conditioning.  Oh Texas…

One of the best ways to enjoy actually having some winter weather, is to make a hearty (and healthy) pot of chili.  Luckily all this green stuff can be boiled down to just that, even the apples!

I spent the majority of 2010 as a strict vegetarian, almost vegan.  This was very interesting and I learned a lot about different ways of eating, but I haven’t quite figured out how to boil all my thoughts on the subject and experience down to a manageable post, so we will save that for later.  What I can tell you, is that I found a lot of recipes that I will happily continue to include in daily cooking.

I love a hefty meal; one that is healthy, but doesn’t leave you searching for something else to munch on an hour after dinner.  So, during this vegetarian spurt, I judged recipes on their ability to accomplish this as well as how many helpings my husband ate (note:  when Brian only eats one serving of something, he is not a fan.).

This unique vegetarian chili meets all my expectations for a warm meal that nourishes me at the same time as satisfies me.  I also love the unique combination of ingredients, its not your typical veggie chili.  Poblano peppers and jalepenos pack some heat, Granny Smith apples add their sweetness, while at the same time, tomatillos combat all of this with tart bitterness.  On top of all that, you get filling protein from beans and even more heft from Yukon gold potatoes.  You don’t even need to add anything else to the meal…but may I suggest some vegan cornbread as well?

Now I have a big pot of green stuff and it’s good, so good.

Manzana Chili Verde

Serves 4-6

From Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice

3 jalepenos, seeded and sliced thinly

2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped into 1-inch pieces

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 pound tomatillos, papery skin removed, washed, chopped into 1/2-to 3/4-inch pieces

2 Granny Smith apples, cored, quartered, and sliced thinly

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped scallions, plus extra for garnish

1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1 lime, plus extra for serving

Avocado slices for garnish

Place chopped potatoes in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Let boil, covered, for a little less than 20 minutes, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.  Of course, you should be preparing everything else while they are boiling.

Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion, jalepenos, and poblanos in oil for about 10 minutes, until everything is softened and the onions are slightly browned.

Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt.  Saute for 1 more minute, until garlic is fragrant.  Add the white wine and tomatillos, raise the heat a bit to let the wine reduce and tomatillos release their juices, about 5 minutes.

Add the apples, vegetable broth, scallions, and 1/2 cup of cilantro.  Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to partially puree everything.  If you don’t have one, then let the mixture cool slightly and transfer to a blender or food processor; pulse until just slightly chunky.  Don’t forget that if you are using a blender, you need to be careful not to have a steam explosion, so pulse quickly and then lift the lid to let steam escape, then pulse again and repeat.  If using a blender, transfer mixture back to pot.

Taste for sweetness/tartness.  Tomatillos are sometimes too bitter; if that is the case, add a teaspoon or two of sugar.  Add the cooked potatoes and beans, and simmer a few more minutes, until everything is heated through.

Add the remaining cilantro and lime juice.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with avocado, scallions, cilantro springs, and lime wedges.

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