I spent much of last summer questioning my sister-in-law and brother-in-law about the Paleo diet. I couldn't understand why they would go from being vegetarians to being cave people. It didn't make any sense to me…until a few weeks ago.
I had put on a few pounds and was looking for a way to get my weight back on track. I decided to give the old Paleo diet a try. How can a vegetarian stick to a diet that is largely based on consuming unusually high amounts of protein -- especially given that both beans and rice and all dairy are off the menu? The short answer is eggs. I ate many, many eggs. I also ate handfuls of almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds as a pure protein source.
It seems limiting in a way, but I love to cook with parameters, especially when things like eggs, avocados, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms are all in the green zone. They are some of my favorite foods anyway! I ate roasted eggplants with Romesco, cauliflower with puttanesca, eggs poached in salsa, curried butternut squash soup, egg foo young, and this wonderful bean-free vegetarian chili. The result? I lost the extra pounds in the space of 2 weeks. Not bad, not bad at all. So, while I'm not giving up pizza and biscuits and cupcakes, I will likely enjoy them in more limited quantities now. Moderation: nice to see you again.
Meaty Portobello Chili with Cold-Oven Sweet Potato Fries
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups onion (about 2 medium)
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 cups diced bell peppers (about 2 medium)
8 cups cubed portobello (about 6 medium)
1 large can fire-roasted crushed tomato
1 tablespoon dried, crumbled porcini
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Cold Oven Sweet Potato Fries (recipe follows)
Sliced avocado to garnish
In a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and add the onion. Take your time with this step. You want to cook the onion for 15 minutes or so stirring occasionally until they are nice and brown. This is where much of the flavor comes from. Add the ancho, paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin and cook for another 5 minutes or until a nice fond, the brown layer stuck to the bottom of the pot, has formed.
Add in the peppers, portobellos, tomatoes, crumbled porcini, broth, and vinegar. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pot and stir it in. Bring pot to a low boil and then reduce to the lowest heat. Cover and cook for one hour.
Serve over Cold-Oven Sweet Potato Fries and garnish with sliced avocado and anything else you'd like. (Serves 6 to 8 as a main course.)
Cold-Oven Sweet Potato Fries
2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/4-inch batons)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place into a cold oven and set the temperature to 415 degrees. Check them in 15 minutes or so. They should be golden and ready in 20-25 minutes. (Makes 2 servings, so you'll have to make several batches if you're serving lots of people.)
I think I will like this. It is colorful and full of flavors. Especially the sweet potato fries, looks really nice. Personally I don’t stick to any kind of diet, I just enjoy delicious food and this is delicious. :)
I went about 3 months on a vegetarian paleo diet. Tough stuff. The whole diet consisted of 5 things: fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds, and eggs. If I weren't a chef I don't think I could have done it.
I just don't like eggs enough to do a paleo diet, but this chili sounds pretty good.
And I need to try these cold oven fries soon.
Made this for dinner tonight and it was even better than I hoped it would be, paired with with Belgian style pale ale...Simply divine!
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