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Cooking On The Couch: Kelsey Nixon’s Vegetarian Chili

NEW YORK (WLNY) – Nothing hits the spot better than a delicious bowl of chili, especially on a cold winter day, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the all-American favorite.

Kelsey Nixon, host of the Cooking Channel’s “Kelsey’s Essentials” and author of “Kitchen Confidence,” shows how us to cook up a vegetarian version to celebrate National Chili Day and other treats including sweet cornbread and honey corn.

Bean and Hominy Chili

Serves 4 to 6 / Prep 15 minutes / Cook 1 hour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 (15.5-ounce) can white hominy, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, set over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and poblano and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne (if using). Cook, stirring constantly, until the spices are fragrant and toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the hominy, black beans, kidney beans, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until thickened, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

2. To serve, ladle the chili into soup bowls and serve with bowls of garnishes alongside, if desired.

Garnishes (optional)

½ medium red onion, finely chopped
Sour cream
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
¼ pound cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
Lime wedges
1 avocado, sliced

Meaty Bean and Hominy Chili: For meat lovers, you could easily start off this recipe by browning 1 pound ground chuck or bison in an additional 1 tablespoon oil. Remove the meat from the pot and reserve. Proceed with the soup as directed, adding the browned meat back in when you add the beans.

Sweet Cornbread

½ cup (1 stick) unalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

2. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.

3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and baking soda. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir in the cornmeal, flour, and salt until only a few lumps remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Honey Corn

MAKES 25 cups – PREP 10 minutes – COOK 10 minutes

24 cups popped corn (from about 1 cup popcorn kernels)
1 ½ cups roasted salted peanuts
4 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Line 2 baking sheets with foil over the outside edges of the baking sheet.

2. Divide the popcorn and peanuts evenly between the 2 sheets.

3. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, butter, cream, and honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Clip a candy thermometer on the side of the pot. Gently boil the mixture until it reaches the soft-ball stage, about 234°F. Remove the pot from the heat and, while stirring constantly, add the baking soda.

4.  Pour the sugar mixture evenly over the 2 baking sheets of popcorn and mix well with large spoons (the sugar mixture will be very hot). Let cool slightly and enjoy warm or at room temperature. (Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

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