Hoisin Beef Chili #SundaySupper

The Sunday Supper team isn’t adverse to a little competition so today we are excited to share a chili contest. We have all been challenged to share our best chilli recipe and it is up to you to vote on which one you think is the best. After reading through everyone’s titles I am so excited to say that competition seems to bring out the best in us because we have come up with some incredible sounding chilies.

And just to make things interesting, there will be prizes involved. The dish with the most votes at the end of the voting period will get one ticket to the 2014 Food and Wine Conference, being held once again in sunny Orlando, Florida this July + a $25 gift card. If the person with the most votes is unable to attend, then they will still get to keep the gift card, but the ticket will be passed on to the person with the next highest votes.

How do you vote? We will be holding votes through Thursday February 27th on the Sunday Supper website. Choose a tried and true one that you have attempted or let your taste bud imagination make the choice. This is such an incredible list I know it won’t be an easy choice to make.

What I have decided to try and tempt you with today was an attempt to step a little outside my box of regular chili thinking. I have actually already shared some of my favourite chili recipes so I wanted to challenge myself by creating something completely new that I had never tried before. Seeing as how my natural instincts is to go more towards Asian flavours I decided to play around with Hoisin sauce. The result was incredible but definitely a 9 out of 10 on the heat scale. So make sure you serve it with a nice big scoop of sour cream for those nervous about heat.

Hoisin Beef Chili

1 400g (14.5oz) tin diced tomatoes
65g (1/4 c.) tomato paste
1-2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
80g (1/4 c) Hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cocoa powder
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 Kilo (2 lbs) top round or beef chuck, cubed
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion , chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 4oog (14.5 oz) tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
*Optional: Sour cream.

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Enjoying our Meat-Free Month Challenge with a bowl of Winter Vegetable Soup

For the month of January hubby and I have gone meat-free. I haven’t talked about it yet, I think part of me didn’t want to talk about it because I was worried that if I talked about it too much I might build it up and then not have the follow through that I needed. I already knew that I had two meat posts that were scheduled for this month so I wondered if it wouldn’t make sense to say I am going meat-free this month. But those meat dishes were cooked and eaten before this month so I guess I can let it slide.

Why meat free?

Well there are two parts to that answer. Hubby and I put on some weight last year and we have been wanting to eat healthier. It isn’t that I feel meat is unhealthy although too much of it is. But I have found that giving myself a challenge like this has forced me to get creative with our meals. And having to pay more attention with coming up with this many meals that are meat-free has helped me focus on keeping it healthier.

The second part is to do with Small Wallet, Big Appetite. You see I talk a lot about cutting down your food budget but I feel like I don’t do enough to show examples of how to do that. One thing that helps immensely is to not include meat for every meal. Normally we try to keep our meat dishes to only 3 times a week. Making this change a few years ago made a huge impact to our food budget. But I noticed as I started working on a better recipe archive, my current one is terrible I know, I noticed how few meat free dishes I really had. I feel that in order to encourage you to cut down on your meat dishes that I needed to do a better job of actually giving you recipes in order to do so.

I have to say I am really glad I took on this challenge because, while it has been harder than I thought it would be, it has brought back my creativity. And we are feeling a lot healthier, especially after all the heavy meals we are during the Holidays. Giving up meat won’t be a permanent change for us but it is inspiring us to go meat-free during the week more often. At the end of the month I will talk more about the financial aspect of the challenge.

This soup is perfect for this cold weather, filling, yet not too heavy and very healthy. Perfect for a cold winter day.

Winter Vegetable Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large leek, rinsed and sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large swede (rutabaga), peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
900ml (12fl oz) vegetable stock
4-5 tablespoons milk
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt, black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste

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