Thursday, February 02, 2017

Super Bowl edition of #VeggieDag Thursday: Stout Chili, and it's vegetarian.

Super Bowl LI

Considering the big game on Sunday, here's a recipe for vegetarian chili easy and basic— but with a few twists, like a strong, big, 'craft' stout ale in the ingredient mix.

On the odd possibility that you are unfamiliar with stout as a beverage, here's what the The Oxford Companion to Beer (2012) has to say about it:
Stouts are a category of warm-fermented ale styles that are distinguished by their dark color, generally an opaque deep brown or black, as well as a distinct roasted character that is often perceived as dark chocolate or coffee. Both of these qualities derive from the use of roasted grains used to brew these beers.

Most beers, even hoppy beers, can be used in chili, to different effect. But a full-flavored stout —as many 'craft' beer stouts* are— contributes a unique layer of complexity to this flavorful vegetarian chili - akin to the chocolate-roastiness of a mole poblano.

Stout Chili


  • 1 block extra-firm tofu (not silken)
  • 6-8 oz strongly-flavored stout*
  • 15.5 oz can 'Italian'-style tomatoes
  • 15.5 oz can cooked black beans
  • 15.5 oz can cooked corn
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder*
  • 1 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoons coriander
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional: if you want more 'heat')
  • 1/8 cup TVP*
  • ½ teaspoon Marmite*


  • 1. Beforehand, prepare the tofu for a more 'meat-like' texture.
    • Press the block repeatedly until all water is expelled.
    • Freeze overnight, or until completely frozen.
    • Thaw. Crumble into small, 'ground-beef' sized pieces and toss with the soy sauce until thoroughly coated. Set aside.
  • 2. In a large pan, sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until slightly browned. Reduce heat, and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add green pepper, and sauté for 1 minute.
  • 3. Add tomatoes and all spices. Stir well. Add crumbled tofu and thoroughly coat with mixture. Add beer slowly. Mix in beans, TVP, and corn. Stir well.
  • 4. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  • 5. Remove from heat. Refrigerate overnight. Gently reheat portions to be served.


  • * Guinness Stout is really too mild a beer to get much flavor into the stew. Vegetarians would also want to avoid Guinness, because it is made with fish-derived isinglass for clarification (even though the brewery has announced its intention to change that procedure). Use half of the bottle. Reserve the other half for the chef.

  • * Most American 'craft' stouts are not made with isinglass. Suggestions: Victory Storm King, Brooklyn Black Chocolate, Anchor Porter, or Heavy Seas Peg Leg Stout. Many craft' stouts are also hop-heavy; using them adds another layer of flavor to the chili.

  • * If you're vegan, also avoid so-called 'milk' stouts, which, although they do not contain milk per se, do contain lactose: milk sugar.

  • * Marmite is the brand name for a popular British spread made from dried yeast extract. A by-product of the beer brewing process, it is generically known as autolyzed yeast extract and can often be found as an ingredient in dried soup mixes and other prepared foods. It imparts a meaty/savory flavor. Think of it as vegetarian cooking's umami 'secret sauce.'

  • * TVP, or textured vegetable protein, is often used in vegetarian cooking to add a chewy texture. It's made from defatted soy flour, and is high in protein.

  • * For greater depth of flavor, omit the chili powder and use 4-6 dried whole red New Mexico peppers (depending upon how much 'heat' you want).
    • Toast the chiles until they're pliable (don't burn them!).
    • Remove from the heat and cut the stems off with scissors. Shake out the seeds and use the scissors to pull out the ribs.
    • Cut into 1-inch pieces and add into the pot.

And, finally, enjoy a bowl. With another stout in a glass. And with a few friends to help empty the pot.

And, oh ya. #RiseUp! Go Atlanta Falcons!



VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and ecological issues.
  • Last year, viewers spent $1.2 billion on beer to drink during the Super Bowl, and $277 million on potato chips. Neilsen collected the data: here.
  • I first posted this chili recipe to my personal website in the early 2000s. With a few changes, it's still good today.
  • The amusing story of a non-vegetarian chili Super Bowl gone wrong: here.

  • UPDATE: Overcoming a 25-point deficit, the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl LI, perhaps the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, in the only overtime game in Super Bowl history. As I posted to my personal Facebook page: "Well, f**k!"

  • Why the name VeggieDag Thursday? Here.
  • Read all the posts: here. Follow on Twitter with hashtag: #VeggieDag.
  • Suggestions and submissions from chefs, writers, and home-cooks welcomed! Contact me here.

  • For more from YFGF:

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