I got this vegetarian recipe from the Mushroom Bureau of the UK (http://www.mushroom-uk.com/education/contactus.htm. It’s a no-nonsense recipe with a hearty and robust taste, proof that you don’t need meat to jazz it up. Button mushrooms, green bell peppers, and red kidney beans are the main stars of this dish, and I’ve made it three times now. You can control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of paprika, cumin and the red hot pepper sauce (you can use red pepper flakes if you don’t have the hot sauce).
Funny how you never tire of chili. A good platter of spaghetti offers mighty comfort but once you’ve had your second serving, you vow never to eat spaghetti again – at least for the next 60 days. You don’t get that feeling with chili. The absence of meat probably explains it.
The Mushroom Bureau of the UK says that “Mushrooms have a glycemic index (GI) so low that it can’t even be measured.” If you go to their web site and click on the tab that says “mushroom information” you’ll read about a dozen varieties.
I was intrigued by the fact that button mushrooms grow in size every 24 hours and turn into closed cup mushrooms. They gradually grow to become open cup mushrooms, their flavour intensifying as they increase in size and mature.
I used fresh button mushrooms (of course) for the first two occasions that I made this dish. Last week I craved it again and went to the supermarket to fetch the ingredients. They ran out of mushrooms so I bought canned ones instead. The difference in taste was negligible, but don’t make a habit of using canned mushrooms for this recipe.
Have a look-see into the Bureau’s recipe section. It has a recipe collection that will tease the food lover in you. They have one called “mushroom capuccino” – resembling a smoothie drink. The “mushroom clock” recipe will make the little ones in the family light up with joy. You use split-up mushrooms to represent the numbers on the clock, and two sausages as the clock’s hands. Worth making this weekend when the kids are home and doing homework. If you have three kids, you may want to have more than two sausages to replace the clock’s hands when they’re “dismembered.” Then there’s the Tunisian mushroom dish for something exotic.
This chili dish is definitely healthy and serving it with brown rice will make your doctor smile. There’s something about brown rice that turns me off though. It feels rubbery. But then I grew up eating long grain white rice and wouldn’t dream of giving it up. I think this chili dish is more flavorful with white rice! That or enjoy it with an old-fashioned baguette. Make that white baguette.