Tuesday, October 4, 2011

lentil millet chili

I love chili on cold days. I just don't always like the bigger chewy beans. This chili uses lentils and millet. The smell, texture and flavor are totally chili and the lentils and millet add such an earthy tone. This so so so good, and made in a slow cooker bubbles away all day filling the house with amazing aroma. This can be made with or without meat. Both are fantastic!

::lentil millet chili::

2 cups dried lentils–any kind (I used 1/2 green, 1/2 red)
2 cups cooked millet (see below)
16 oz canned tomatoes, or 3-4 large diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato paste or juice (I use homemade so it is more juicy, you can also just use 1 can tomato paste)
4-6 cups stock
1 large onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
3 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
1+ tsp chili powder (to taste/heat)
2 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp corn flour (optional)

freshly chopped chives or cilantro for serving
sour cream or plain yogurt for serving

Add a bit of oil to a hot large pan, and toss in the onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, add the peppers. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring gently. If you want meat, add up to a pound of ground beef or turkey and stir until browned. Empty the pan into your crock pot. Return pan to heat, add in the tomatoes, stock, and tomato paste and stir in the lentils. Bring to a boil. Pour into crock pot. Add all of the spices. Add the warm cooked millet. Stir. Cook on high for 1 hour, reduce heat to low and simmer in the crock pot for 4-6 hours.

In the last 30 minutes add 1 Tbsp corn flour/harina (optional) to thicken the chili. The millet thickens it a bit, but if you like really thick chili, the corn flour does it. Stir in the chopped parsley in the last 30 minutes as well. Add any additional salt/pepper to taste.

Serve with some fresh cilantro, grated cheese, chopped chives, a spoon of plain yogurt or sour cream...all great.

The stock measurement has a range because your liquid needs may vary depending on what kind of lentils you use. Start with the base amount, and after a few hours add more if it needs it. You want enough liquid for the lentils to absorb and plump up, but not be too thick or dry.

To cook millet:
Add 1 cup of millet to a hot sauce pan. Lightly pan toast them, don't burn. Add 2 cups of water or stock and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with the lid on 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, and add to the chili using a fork (don't stir or scoop hard, or it will clump).

Lentils are an excellent source of molybdenum and folate. They are a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese and a good source of iron, protein, phosphorus, copper, thiamin and potassium.

Millet is a good source of some very important nutrients, including manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium! It is also gluten-free.

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