Ready for a story guys? Here goes. Last week at work we had a chili cook-off. The First Annual for our little company, I’m guessing. We’re a team of about 30 people, with maybe two-thirds of us in the office on a “busy day.” So, because most of us like to eat — and a handful of us really like to cook — we had a chili cook-off. The word quaint should probably be in there somewhere.
Requirements for the cook-off? None. No heat restrictions, specific diet accommodations, nada. This was anything goes, people. And guess-friggin’-what.
This Vegan Soyrizo & Sweet Potato Chili took it home.
The phrase “yeah baby’ comes to mind.
…Against a carnivore’s dream of tender braised beef and Mexican spices, the Vegan Soyrizo chili stood strong.
…To the slow-cooked, searingly hot concoction of chorizo and beer, this Bad Mamajama said Efffffffffff Youuuuuuuuuu.
…Even its fellow Vegan — its fragrant and saucy, bean-laden brethren — had to bow down.
That’s right, out of four — count ’em — four whole chilis in the cook-off, this fineassmofo snagged First Prize.
So maybe the odds were ever in my favor. I’ll take a win where I can get one. And when it comes to chili, there’s kind of a lot of cred associated with being able to slap somethin’ as game changing as Award Winning in the title — even if it is a hippie little chili full of cinnamon and other earthy crap.
Yeah, ok, it’s weird. But it’s also really delicious. All sweet and savory and smoky and numnum. Consistent with my animal-free Earth Day theme from last week, making this chili has an “I heart amminals” satisfation factor equivalent to rocking a baby panda to sleep in your arms.
But less fluffy.
Pandas don’t taste good.
Award-Winning Vegan Soyrizo & Sweet Potato Chili
By Emily Stoffel
Cook time: 2.5 hours | Serves 6
Note: I love using dried mushrooms in a dish like this. The flavors are supremely concentrated and they’re a tremendous value. To hydrate mushrooms, rinse dried mushrooms and add to a saucepan with 3 cups water. Bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving resulting stock. Filter stock through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth before using.
- 2.5 oz dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 T olive oil
- 12 oz soy chorizo (such as Trader Joe’s)
- 4 ribs celery, diced
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, diced
- 3 oz dried mushrooms (such as shitake, oyster, etc.), hydrated and finely chopped (see note)
- 3 T chili powder
- 1.5 T Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 T agave
- 3/4 cup reserved mushroom stock (see note)
- 2.5 cups water
- salt & pepper
- cilantro or scallions, for serving
In a large saucepan, combine dried chilies, roughly chopped onion and garlic cloves with enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large stock pot or Dutch oven over med-high flame and add olive oil. Add soyrizo (removed from casing) and brown lightly, about 5 minutes. Add celery, finely chopped onion and bell pepper. Salt liberally. Saute until vegetables are crisp-tender, another several minutes. Add diced, hydrated mushrooms, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, cumin and agave and cook until spices are fragrant. Add potatoes and sundried tomatoes. Toss to combine.
In a food processor, combine hydrated strained chilies, onion and garlic cloves with 1 cup chile cooking liquid. Puree until very smooth.
Add pureed chilies, reserved mushroom stock, bay leaves and 2.5 cups water to veggie mixture. Bring chili to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 1.5-2 hours. Adjust for salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves. Serve topped with cilantro or scallions.
Yum. And, duh. Of course you won. This looks seriously bomb. And you know Nick would be down. Imma try it…
Yes! This is so Nickish it’s not even funny. And no joke, I would totally put his buckwheat on top for crunch. I’m serious. Not mocking here. Although in our house we also use crunchy fried onions. 😉
I make a chili similar to this,,,,,and I add cocoa powder…kind of a mole version. No celery…no bay leaf…but red chili peppers, chilli powder ( even chipotle or smoked paprika),,,cinnamon, cumin and cocoa. I roasted a delicato squash this weekend with fig balsamic….lovely, but a little too sweet for me. I decided to make the yam chili and use this roasted squash. I make vegan quesadillas and use the chili as a filling. I add Daiya cheese….and then when the filling and quesadilla are ready, I tucked in some fresh avacado…and topped it all with a chipotle salsa….OMG. This balanced the sweetness of the squash in the most amazing way. I hope I remember what I did at a later date. I have a spicy seitan that I use sometimes in the filling…but there is enough protein in the beans and Daiya…but the seitan, I just chop it in my food processer….and it’s very spicy too.awesome.
Sounds awesome sauce!! 🙂
1), Congrats on the win, 2) I was just thinking how I would make a vegetarian chili…this receipe is great
You were robbed. The Mexican chili with that fall-apart braised beef was money in the bank (as the cool kids say. Or the uncool kids?)…
My niece has been a vegetarian for 2 years now and I know this is something she would like. I love that she’s an adventurous eater at 14 years old! I will definitely be making this for her this summer when she’s visiting. I bet the 2 carnivorous boys in the house would like it, too, if they aren’t told it’s vegan beforehand. 😉
I love that your niece is an adventurous eater too, Ann! A girl after my own heart. You gotta start young introducing new foods before outside influencers convince her things are “gross.” Sounds like she’s grown up around some foodies!
Whoa! Congrats for knocking it out of the ballpark, er, office. It looks fantastic. No wonder everyone went crazy for it.
Thanks! To be fair it was a very close race. But then again, with only four contenders, what other kind of race is there?
Haha! Rocking a baby panda to sleep in your arms? Oh man, Emily. You crack me up. I am super surprised/impressed. Way to bring home a win! *fist bump*
Thanks! Return *fist bump*. I love giving/getting virtual props. Gives my asterisk key a workout. (Yes, I know it’s just the 8 key, but I feel like those little shift symbols get kinda shafted…or is it shifted? Oh snap! 🙂
That just happened.
I’m one for one on trying vegan recipes: one was a great success, the other was not so good. I’m adding this to try. 🙂 This looks great and congratulations on the win!
Thanks so much! It’s received quite a few non-vegans’ seal of approval, so I think you’re good to go. 🙂 Good luck!
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I’ve made this several times, and it is just fabulous. Lots of non-vegetarian friends have loved it (and maybe not even noticed the lack of meat and maybe were never told thereafter). It’s a bit labor intensive but so very worth it! Thank you!
This comment just completely made my day, MB! I’m so glad you took the time to give it a shot. I know all the business with the mushrooms can make it seems a little tedious, but it’s really not difficult — just another couple of steps. (And I swear that, combined with the soyrizo, is where the whole “fool your meat-eating friends” part comes in.) Thanks for your feedback! 🙂
Loved this recipe and so did all at my potluck! I decided to add black beans to give a little more consistency and topped it with avocado (who doesn’t love avo?!?) Thanks for the idea 🙂
Hi! I LOVE this recipe and have been making it for years, and today am trying it in an Instant Pot for the first time. (Wish me luck) It’s also my first IP use, any ideas on how long to cook?
Hooray! Love that you love it, and I bet it will be perfect in the instant pot. Honestly, the long simmer is just to let the flavors meld, and that happens, well, almost instantly — heh — in an instant pot, especially if you’re sauteing the items in the instant pot before you set it to pressure cook. I would think you could start with maybe 10-15 mins and a natural release, understanding that you lose much less liquid in the instant pot, so you might have to turn it to saute again and cook off some of the liquid if it doesn’t seem thick enough at the end. Would love to hear how it goes!