Smokey Vegetable Chili and Hushpuppies

Smokey Vegetable Chili and Hushpuppies

Chili and hushpuppies - perfect on a cool fall day.  Sweet potatoes, black beans, and chickpeas are delicious with smokey flavors and rich spices. 

I lightened the traditional hushpuppy recipe by using oat flour instead of wheat.  The result is a crisp crust and fluffy interior.  These puppies are quick and easy to make and fry up perfectly in a cast iron pan.

For the Chili Beans:

1/2 cup dried black beans, picked over, soaked overnight and rinsed

1/2 cup dried chickpeas, picked over, soaked overnight and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly smashed

1 small yellow onion, peeled and halved

1 whole dried Guajillo chili pepper (mild)

2 sprigs fresh oregano or 1 tsp. ground oregano

Chili beans instructions:

1.  Rinse the black beans and chickpeas.  Place the rinsed beans in a 4 quart heavy bottom cooking pot.

2.  Nestle in the onion, garlic, chili pepper, and oregano.  Cover with one inch of water.

3.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a gentle simmer.  Cover slightly and cook for 60-75 minutes, checking to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot.  While the beans are cooking, start the vegetable chili.

For the Vegetable Chili:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

4 roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice

1 large zucchini, split lengthwise, seeded , and cut into small dice

1 cup fresh corn kernels, or frozen and defrosted

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups low sodium vegetable stock

Juice of one or two limes

Chili Instructions:

1.  Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic.  Lower the heat to medium and saute until soft.

2.  Add the green peppers and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add the chili powder, smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon.  Stir into the vegetables and cook for about one minute.

3.  Mix in the tomato paste and stir into the vegetables and spices and cook gently until the tomato paste darkens slightly - about 2 minutes.

4.  Stir in the tomatoes and lime juice and cook for about one minute.  Then stir in about 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock and loosen any bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.

5.  Pour in the remaining vegetable stock.  Add the sweet potatoes and oregano, and bring to a boil.  Lower to a lazy simmer, cover slightly, and cook for 20 minutes.

6. Now, take the beans that have been cooking for about the last 60-75 minutes and add to the chili pot, discarding the onion, chili pepper, and oregano branches.  Add a 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid to the chili pot and discard the rest.  Check the liquid level in the chili pot, add about 1 tablespoon of salt, and cook partially covered for another 15 minutes.  

7.  Remove the lid from the pot and add the zucchini and corn.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is cooked but not mushy.

8.  Remove from the heat and let the chili rest before serving.  You can make the hushpuppies while the chili rests.



Enough canola oil for frying

1 cup coarse ground yellow cornmeal, like this one from Congaree Mills

1 cup oat flour, like this one from Anson Mills

1 1/2 tablespoons sodium-free baking soda or 3/4 tablespoon regular baking soda

Pinch ground cayenne pepper

Pinch sea salt

1 whole egg

1 egg white

1 cup low or full fat buttermilk

1 tablespoon organic wild honey

1/2 of a small yellow onion, grated


1.  Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a deep cast iron pan or dutch oven over medium high heat.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, oat flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cayenne pepper.

3.  In a medium bowl, beat the egg and egg white, then beat in the honey and buttermilk. Stir in the grated onion.  Then, make a well in the middle of the cornmeal mixture and pour in, stirring until just combined.  The batter will expand - don't be alarmed!

4.  When the oil is shimmering or reads 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer, drop in small rounds of the batter.  Do not crowd the pan.

5.  Cook each hushpuppy for about 1 1/2 minutes, flipping before they start to burn or scorch.  Total cooking time will be 3-4 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and serve with chili.