TGE Recipes: Bestest Texas Veggie Chili with Claire Morales

Welcome to TGE Recipes, a place where our favorite bands share the secrets straight from their kitchens. Think your favorite Food Network show except on a purple blog. Today we welcome Claire Morales.

Bestest Texas Veggie Chili

As a Texan vegetarian, I'm constantly trying to create recipes that make both me and my meat-eating pals happy. With that goal in mind, here's the formula for my favorite chili in the world. The recipe started when I was 13 and first became vegetarian. It's evolved since then, a little different every year. You can add all sorts of veggies to it (I've tried zucchini, corn, eggplant, spinach, chard, and mushrooms), but it's great just as it is: simple, smokey, super substantial and satisfying. I credit the great taste to the smoked paprika and chipotle. They give the dish a real smokiness and depth of flavor. The other best part is probably the toppings: the tortilla strips are outta this world. I usually make more than I need so I can eat some while I cook. Don't be lame and use Fritos or other store-bought chips, the tortilla strips are where it's at. Enough blabbing, here's the recipe. Hope you dig it!




(Serves 6-8)

  • 2 Yellow or White Onions
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 2 poblanos
  • 4 dried anchos
  • 1 small can chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (get the fire roasted ones if you can)
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 T each of: smoked paprika, normal paprika, garlic powder, chili powder (or 1/2 T cayenne), cumin, oregano.
  • 2 T salt
  • 6 white corn tortillas
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • Limes (1 or 2 depending on how juicy and big they are)
  • 2 or 3 avocados
  • 1 small block smoked cheddar
  • 1 small block jalapeño jack


Dice onions and sweet potato into 1/2 inch cubes. Turn your burner on to medium high heat. Heat 1/3 cup plus 1 T veggie oil in a huuuuuuge pot. The biggest pot you have. When the oil starts to ripple a lil and is pretty hot, add in your taters and onions. You'll hear a little sizzle. Stir them from time to time so they don't stick and ruin everything. While those are cooking, roughly chop up the poblanos. I like the pieces to be big and beautiful, but pepper size is really a personal decision. Mince the jalapeños too. You can leave the seeds in if you're hardcore or take them out if you're more mild. No one is judging here.

Once the onions are translucent and the sweet potatoes have begun to soften, add in the poblanos and jalapeños. Stir everything up and reduce heat to medium. Add in your spices, 1/2 T each of: garlic powder, cumin, normal paprika, smoked paprika, chili powder and oregano.  Also ad 2 T salt. Stir it all. Dice up your dried anchos and add those in. Stir it all. Dice up 2 or 3 of your delicious chipotle peppers and add them in. Add 2 or so T of the adobo sauce for good measure. Stir it all. Add the 28oz of tomatoes (no need to drain) and save that can. We're gonna use that can in a second so don't recycle it yet, please. Stir it all once more.

Let everything simmer and empty alllll the many cans of beans into your biggest colander. Rinse them all with cold water so the can-y, salty goo is gone. Add them into The Big Pot with everything else and stir everything together gently. Add in 1 full tomato can (or 28 oz) of water. If you wanted to get really wild, you could add a can of beer too for more of a borracho flavor. Cover the pot up and let it cook down for 1/2 hour on medium high heat stirring occasionally (ie every 5 minutes).

Meanwhile, cook the tortilla strips! Line a plate with 4 or 5 paper towels stacked on top of one another and keep it near your stove. This is where you'll drain the oily strips once they are finished. Stack 6 tortillas on a cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Heat a big pan on medium high heat and add in 1/4 cup oil. Once the oil's hot, add in enough strips to cover the bottom. If your pan isn't big enough to hold all the strips, cook them in batches until golden brown. Add in a little extra oil between batches to ensure optimal crispiness. Once the strips are done, season with kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder and chili powder to taste.

Grate the cheese: as much smoked cheddar and jalapeño jack as you can handle. If you're not big on these cheeses, normal cheddar or colby jack would be good too. Next, cube up the avocado. Scoop into a bowl and add lime juice to it. The lime juice will keep the avocado from turning an icky color and will also help to flavor the chili once we place it on top later, add as much as you like but at least enough to coat. Chop up the cilantro and place in a bowl. Place the cheese, cilantro and avocado in the fridge because this stuff melts and gets warm and it's really not as nice when it does these things.

Once the chili has simmered for 1/2 hour covered, uncover and heat for another half hour on low heat. Stir it every 5 minutes or it'll stick to the bottom and your clean up process will suck.

After the chili is reduced to your liking, turn off the heat. Grab your toppings out of the fridge. Spoon your chili into a nice big bowl. Add cheese on top first so it melts right onto the bubbling hot goodness. Add strips next, more than you think you need because those things are like lil pieces of heaven and you'll eat them all. Next, add a big spoonful of avocado. If you wanna get crazy, put some sour cream in the jaunt too. Sprinkle cilantro over everything, stick a spoon in, mix it up, and enjoy. Great with a beer or marg or limeade.


Toon Tunes: Jigglypuff

mp3: "Lull" & "Blue" - JODY