It’s Saturday and that means weekend cooking. A bake once more, so consider it a bit more of a time investment but it yields a wonderfully savory pan full of Tex-Mex inspired textures and tastes; with extra chili to spare!
The recipe also features kidney beans and celery root which don’t typically get a lot of action in my kitchen, in an effort to switch things up a bit. Besides, it also uses more spaghetti squash from the stash: since there are still ten of them in the cold room of the house begging for use.
And if making the whole recipe is a bit too ambitious, then the chili alone makes a great main course while the mash would be a great side for many a-different meal.
What you need:
For the pumpkin-seed crust:
- 2 cups tamari-toasted pumpkin seeds (toast in a 300F oven on a pan for 22 minutes, tossing about half way through. When you take’em out of the oven, sprinkle with 2 tsp tamari and toss some more. Let them dry.)
- 1/3 cup corn flour
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chia soaked in 3 tablespoons of water until gelatinous
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons water
- juice from 1/2 a lime
For the chili filling:
- 2 cups dry kidney beans
- 5 bay leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, whole
- 3 dried green chilies, whole
- A piece of kombu seaweed
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 onions, diced
- 1 tomato, peeled and diced
- 3 small zucchini, quartered and diced
- 1/2 of a baked spaghetti squash, scooped out and cut into bite-size bits, 4-6 cups (another squash of your choice can be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder (the chili powder makes or breaks the recipe, use something good that you like – or even better: make it yourself)
- 1 tablespoon ground roasted cumin
- 2 tablespoons fresh or fresh dried oregano leaves (if you’re using the grocery store dried stuff, only use 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more, to taste
- 2 tablespoons corn flour
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons salt
For the mash topping:
- 1 large celery root (about 2 lbs)
- 6-7 small potatoes, no need to peel them if they’re organic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- juice from 1/2 a lime
What you do:
- Soak the dry beans overnight in water.
- Drain the beans, add to a pot with fresh water to cover by an inch or two, the kombu, bay leaves, garlic cloves and green chilies.
- Either pressure cook for 12 minutes and allow a natural pressure release; or simmer on stove-top until beans are creamy and breaking up some. Drain, compost garlic, bay, chilies and seaweed, then set aside.
- While the beans are cooking, prepare the veggies for the mash. Peel the celery root and cut it into large chunks. Place them in a pot. Cut the potatoes into large chunks and add them to the pot. Cover with water, cover the pot and set it on the stove-top to cook.
- Next it’s time to start the chili. Heat the coconut oil in a dutch oven on medium heat and add the onions. Toss them around now and again until they’re golden and starting to brown around the edges while you make the crust and preheat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Pulse the pumpkin seeds in a food processor to obtain a coarse meal. Add the corn and tapioca flours to the work bowl and pulse it around again until everything’s evenly distributed.
- Pour the seed meal into a bowl, or if you’re lazy with dishes like me, directly into a 9’’x13’’ baking dish.
- Mix the 2 tablespoons of water into the chia seed goop until it’s pourable. Add it to the seed meal along with the lime juice and work it through with a fork to get roughly uniform coarse crumbs. Press into the bottom of the pan firmly using wet fingers, dribbling in a bit more water as required to get it to stick together and stay down. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes to set. Take it out of the oven and set aside.
- While the crust is cooking, rinse out the working bowl and blade of the food processor and put them back in business. Also make sure you haven’t forgotten about the onions.
- At this point the onion should be pretty much ready. Add the spices (except the salt) and let everything get toasty for a minute or two. Add the corn flour and do the same. Next add the tomato, zucchini, water and salt. Stir well to break up any lumps and then let it thicken up and reduce a little, this will only take 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add the kidney beans and squash and turn the heat off under the dutch oven. Mix well to combine and distribute the sauce evenly.
- The potatoes and celery root are pretty certainly cooked (and hopefully already off the stove-top) at this point. Drain them and add to the food processor along with the olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt and lime juice. Pulse until smooth.
- At this point, turn the oven back on at 350F if it isn’t still that way.
- Reserve about 4 cups of the chili for freezing, eating or gift-giving and plop the rest on top of the crust in a roughly even layer.
- Transfer the mash from the work bowl of the food processor on top of the chili in a roughly even layer and smooth it out with a spatula.
- Bake at 350F for 25 minutes and then let cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving either hot or at room temperature.