Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is a high-fiber, high-protein meat substitute made from soy flour. Granted, it's not sexy, but it works well in vegetarian chili.
Seen here served at the Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest, the principal ingredients of Hard Times Cafe chili are TVP and beans. It's tomato-based, and well-seasoned with a bit of heat. Desired toppings can be added. Jalapeños!
Hard Times Cafe is an independent chain of chili and wings restaurants —some with pool halls— located in the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Virginia and Maryland.
The beer in the photo was Scarlet Fire, a rauchbier [pronounced ROWKkkh beer] from Victory Brewing of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. There's no information on the beer at Victory's website, but BeerAdvocate.com lists the alcohol-by-volume (abv) as 6.1%.
A rauchbier is a 'smoked' beer, often a lager. The smoked aspect refers to the barley malt, which has been cured by smoke most commonly from beechwood chips. There is belief that much malted barley, and thus most beer before the 18th century —when technological advances of the Industrial Revolution allowed greater control over the malting and brewing processes— would have had similar smokey flavors.
Well-made smoked beers —such as Scarlet Fire— have an almost barbecued, bacon-like flavor, not overdone, but definitely evident. It's a flavor that drinkers will either love or hate in their beer. I like it, and it's the closest this vegetarian gets to bacon!
- A recipe for homemade veggie chili: here.
- More about the the Northern Virginia Brewfest: here.
- As a representative for beer/wine wholesaler Select Wines, I sell an eponymous lager to Hard Times Cafe.
- VeggieDag is a series of occasional Thursday posts on
vegetarian cooking and food issues. Why the name? Here.
- Suggestions and submissions from chefs and homecooks welcomed: Here.