The Godfather & Vegetarian Chili

by neverenteredmymind

“Come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you may have to cook for 20 guys some day. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil, you fry some garlic, then you throw in some tomatoes, some tomato paste, you fry it, you make sure it doesn’t stick, you get it to a boil. You shove in all your sausage and your meatballs, add a little bit of wine, and a little bit of sugar — and that’s my trick.”

Clemenza to Michael, The Godfather

It snowed. A lot. Not quite enough for a snow day, but enough so that when classes were over and the work day was done, there was still a feeling of being snowed in which gave way to rich, hearty comfort food and long classic movies with a plot equally as rich. The Godfather is one of those trilogies which turns the most pleasant, peace-keeping person into a hot-tempered, Italian wanna-be with a thirst for vengeance. Even if you know vengeance can’t bring Don Vito’s son back from his swiss cheese death.  The first 1972 movie is beyond a doubt a classic, as Tom Hanks rightfully puts it,  “The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question”. The 1990 film, on the other hand, is best left forgotten. I am one of the vast majority who believes watching the GIII is much like finding yourself in the weeds during dinner service on a Friday night- dreadfully painful but you just can’t help it. Unfortunately, when you’ve committed yourself to a movie marathon, you’ve got to see it through till the end. And see it through we did, with the help of a spicy cremini and zucchini chili. It wasn’t quite Clemenza’s tomato sauce, but with added kick of smoked paprika and cumin, I’m sure this chili would be an offer even he couldn’t refuse.

Cremini&Zucchini Chili
Smoked paprika and cumin
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large yellow onion, small dice
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 zucchini, small dice
8-10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tbsp chili powder
1-2 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp dried oregano/ thyme
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water, or enough to thin till consistency

Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. Add onions, carrots and celery and sweat for 2 minutes. Add garlic, zucchini and mushrooms and continue to cook over medium heat. Add spices and beans, stir and cook out the flavors and add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 1 hour and adjust seasoning. Serve with some grated edam or mozzarella, a dollop of sour cream, or some guacamole.