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Hickory-Maple Smoked Chili

As much as I hate to admit it, it's still winter up here in Canada 😕.  My kids are having a blast on our very own personal snowboarding hill that my husband built in the front yard...but...I'm DONE WITH SNOW!!! 😩  I hate the terrible highway conditions and the black ice, and the drifts, and the whiteouts, and just the overall COLD!  {Sigh...}


I can however take comfort in the kitchen though.  My very favourite part of winter is the soul warming food...soups, warm drinks, fresh breads, and all that good stuff.  Today I'm bringing you a Chili, and the Crumb-Free Corn Bread I serve with it.  This chili is pretty awesome, despite how brown and mushy it looks.  Man, I never realized how ugly chili was until I tried to take pictures of it.  It really isn't a very photogenic food, but I promise you, it's delicious!  As the name implies, it's got a tinge of maple flavour, and some hickory liquid smoke, the perfect blend in my opinion.  As usual, this chili is also packed with healthy goodness like plant based protein, veggies, and no added oil, sugar, or dairy.  Here's how it's done...




NOTE: If you don't have an Instant Pot {ahem...you need one} skip down to the bottom for some stove top tips.

In the Instant Pot Version of this soup, I use dried beans, because I find it gives it more flavour overall.  If you want less gas in your house after consumption, I do highly recommend rinsing and soaking your beans first.  So first off, throw your black beans, kidney beans and lentils in an instant pot, then add your water and pasta sauce.  Give it a good stir and put the lid on.  Make sure your Instant Pot is set to to the sealed position, and cook on manual for 25-35 minutes (25 minutes will end up not quite as thick, 35 will end up quite thick, especially after it sits in the fridge overnight).  I usually do the full 35, because I also like to use the leftover chili as a baked potato topping, and the extra thickness is nice.  If you're nervous, try 25 minutes and see what it's like.  You can always put the lid back on and cook it more if you want it thicker.  


When it's done cooking, let the Instant Pot naturally release before removing the lid.  It should look something like this. 👆🏼




Meanwhile, while the beans are cooking, add the onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery and water to a large frying pan and water saute over medium heat until the veggies are soft.  I cover my frying pan with a lid while they're water sauteing so the water doesn't evaporate too fast and burn them.  If it looks like your water is running out, feel free to add more so your veggies don't burn.


Once the veggies are done, add them into the Instant Pot, along with the spices, maple syrup and liquid smoke.  Give it a good stir and put the lid back on.  Again make sure the lid is set to the sealed position, and cook on manual for 2 more mins.  Quick release pressure once it's done. 


That's it!  Feel free to add more liquid smoke to taste.  I just shake mine about 4-6 times until I like the flavour.

Enjoy!

xoxo ~ Lise-Anne {Elle Veganista}


Stove Top Tips: If I was making this Chili on the Stove Top (sorry, I don't have exact measurements), I would use canned beans instead of dried (I can of each should be about perfect), as they are going to be way quicker to cook this way.  On the Stove Top, I actually don't drain and rinse my beans when making chili.  I know it may add to the gaseousness around the house, but I like the way the liquids thicken up the chili when they're not drained.  I would saute the veggies first, then add the water (or broth), spices, tomato sauce etc.  My other stove top tip would be to reduce the amount of water substantially.  The Instant Pot is going to use a lot more water because it's pressure cooking dried beans, but if you're using canned beans and cooking on the stove top, I would say to reduce the water by about half or even less than half (start at 2 cups and work up until desired thickness is achieved).  I would even be tempted to use vegetable broth rather than water just to vamp up the flavour a bit more, as the Instant Pot naturally adds more flavour just from the pressure cooking process.  Otherwise, I would stick with the same amount of spices, veggies & pasta sauce.  Liquid smoke to taste.

Enjoy!

xoxo ~ Lise-Anne {Plum Planted}

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Hickory-Maple Smoked Chili:
By Lise-Anne Michel {Plum Planted}
Makes about 12 cups
Plant Based, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-fre, Oil-free, Refined Sugar-free.

Ingredients:
1 c. dried kidney beans, soaked, rinsed & drained
1 c. dried black beans, soaked, rinsed & drained
1 c. dried green (or brown) lentils, soaked, rinsed & drained
6 c. water
1 c. pasta sauce
1 onion, diced (about 1 1/2 c.)
2 bell peppers, diced (about 1 1/2 c.)
2 carrots, grated
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 c. water for sauteing
1 1/2 t. each of salt
1 1/2 t. onion powder
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 t. chili powder
3/4 t. cumin
2 T maple syrup
Liquid smoke to taste

Method:
1. In an Instant Pot, combine kidney beans, black beans, lentils, water and pasta sauce.
2. Place lid on Instant Pot securely, and be sure steam valve is turned to the "sealed" position.
3. Cook on manual setting for 25-35 minutes, depending on desired thickness, and naturally releasing pressure when the cook time is complete.
4. Meanwhile, combine onion, bell peppers, carrots, celery and water in a large frying pan, and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender.
5. Once the Instant Pot has finished its natural release, add sauteed veggies to the instant pot, along with salt, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, maple syrup and liquid smoke.
6. Secure lid once more, with valve in sealed position, and cook on manual setting for an additional 2 minutes.  Quick release pressure.
7. Serve

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