Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chipotle Chilli with Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts

The great thing about this "new vegan recipe every week" challenge is that it is leading to me try new ingredients and flavor combinations.  This week I had the pleasure of meeting chipotle for the first time. 

This weeks recipe was suggested by my partner in this weekly-new-vegan-recipe venture: Chipotle Chilli with Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts.  The recipe is on the Post Punk Kitchen web site.  So I can share it with you without having to type out the recipe which, for a lazy blogger like me, made it an even more attractive choice.

No need to feel like the only ignorant one in the room if you don't know what chipotles are.  I had no idea either and so I went ahead and googled/wiki-ed them before reading the recipe.  And then when I returned to the recipe page on the PPK there was all the info I needed.  Apparently they are "this decade’s sundried tomato" and apparently I have been living under a rock.  :)

A chipotle is a smoked jalapeno.  A jalapeno is a medium sized chilli pepper.  A chilli pepper is a..... No wait, you know what that is right?  Dear husband and I really enjoyed the smokey flavor and aroma.

I only made two teensy changes to the recipe.  I used two tins of beans (instead of one) and, as usual, I reduced the salt to suit my un-Americanised taste buds.   Here is a snap of how it turned out.

This is the first time I have been brave enough to follow a recipe that calls for brussel sprouts.  As a kid brussel sprouts were the most poisonous food on earth (closely followed by liquorice and liver - shudder) and were used in childhood oaths between my sibblings and I, eg, "Honest, really, if I am lying I will eat a whole truck load of brussel sprouts and liver!"  I never thought I would grow up to be one of those adults who actually eats brussel sprouts by choice. 

I found chipotles at my local shopping village at Passione Gormet Deli.  They had dried chipotle and chipotle in tins in adobo sauce.  They also had lots of other cool stuff including the creamiest, most yummiest, most delicious ever hummus.  (Note to self - it is high time you started making your own hummus).  The owner (at least I think he as the owner) was very helpful.  I asked if he stocked any vegan cheese or chocolate.  Apparently he did stock it at first but there wasn't enough demand.  I will have to see what I can do about that!

Pinto beans were a little trickier.  For the second time this year I found myself standing in the shop using my iphone to google "x beans are also known as".  I used borlotti beans which seemed to be the closest thing to pinto beans available at my local IGA.  I need to find a shop near my house that sells a wider range of beans.  I went on a wild goose chase today looking for black beans - but more about that in my next blog post.

Anyone have a fantastic hummus recipe they want to share?  I have been looking at lots this week and can't decide which one to try so I would love a recommendation.


Brett said...

Hi Mandy,

I have bad news: you have been under your rock for longer than you think, as the PPK webpage is from 2008, making chipotles last decade's sundried tomato. I'm not sure what will earn the honour this decade. And we must have been under the same rock, because I'd never heard of them either.

But perhaps I can help with hummus.

First, the chick peas. Soak 'em overnight and then either boil them for what feels like forever until they're done, or (my preferred option) do them much more quickly and efficiently in a pressure cooker. I pretty much do what it says here except that I don't use the baking soda. You might have to vary the timing depending on the size of your chick peas. (My mistake when I first tried to cook chick peas in the pressure cooker was that I overdid things and ended up with chick pea mush.)

As for the recipe, what I do is based on a recipe from Charmaine Solomon's Complete Vegetarian Cookbook


250g dried chick peas
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 large cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
a little olive oil
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
a little salt to taste


Soak, then cook chick peas as above. Put them in a food processor. Meanwhile, cook the garlic very lightly in a little bit of olive oil. To the chick peas in the processor, add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic/oil and salt. Taste it and see what you think. Adjust according to the whims of your palate. Serve up on a plate and garnish if you like with olive oil +/- paprika +/- parsley. This recipe makes enough for a party.

A nice thing about hummus is that you can adjust all the basic flavours at the end until you're happy with it. In my opinion, features which elevate a good home made hummus above the store-bought stuff include fresh citrus tang, fresh garlic taste, and generosity with the tahini. (Tahini isn't cheap, and I bet the commercial hummus preparations skimp on it.)

I should add that many recipes, including Ms Solomon's, use raw crushed garlic. You may too, if you wish. It's a bit fierce for me that way, which is why I give the garlic a minimum of cooking in the oil, just to take the burn out of it.

Hope that helps.

Mel said...

Personally, I enjoy a little raw crushed garlic in my hummus. But my husband is a bit of a wimp so I allow him to take the edge off it. If you do use raw garlic though, only use a very, very small amount and incrementally add more until it suits your taste.

Mandy said...

Hi Brett and Mel,
Thanks for the recipe and tips. I will be trying it very soon!
I have tried the recipe from Veganomicon but I used canned chickpeas, and it didn't quite hit the target. So it sounds like I will need to not be so lazy and start with dried chickpeas.
Thanks especially for your tips about garlic. I will let you know how I get on.

Brett said...

I've just dragged out my copy of Veganomicon to compare, and it looks like Moskowitz and Romero use less lemon juice and less tahini (padding the oil quotient with olive oil instead of tahini). I think the acid from the citrus and the nuttiness of the tahini are critical.

Home-boiled chick peas seem fluffier in texture than the canned ones, somehow. I don't know how much of a difference this makes to hummus; in fact I'm not sure I've tried making hummus from tinned chick peas.