Introduction: Spicy Jackfruit Chili

About: I'm a physics and chemistry teacher at a public school in Maryland and active in my local science teacher's association. I love building things and am teaching myself how to use arduino in electronics projects…

I wrote this during the Corona Virus pandemic in 2020 when it was risky to head over for a quick restock from the local market. This is an adaptation of my favorite chili recipe using shelf stable ingredients to replace perishable ones like ground turkey.

Step 1: Gathering Your Ingredients From the Garden

I wondered over to the garden to see what might be growing that I can add to the chili. I found arugula, two kinds of kale, chickweed, and spicy mustard greens. I cut a decent handful of each.

Spicy mustard really lives up to its name. If you prefer a mild chili skip this step!

Step 2: Gathering the Other Ingredients From the Pantry

Chili is not an exact science, which makes it a great choice for a time when its hard to source precious items for your cooking.

I included:

- Jackfruit (I get it in a box, keeps well in the pantry. This is the "meat" for my chili.)

- black lentils

- onions

- garlic

- carrot

- chili powder

- cumin

- smoked paprika powder

- Jalapeno powder (I grow my own peppers, dry them, and grind them into powder to use during the winter months)

- salt and fresh ground black pepper

- fresh greens from the garden

- stock, I used chicken stock but if you want this to be vegan you can use tomato or another vegetable stock

- pasta, I used small elbow macaroni

- homemade marinara sauce (I grow my own tomatoes and onions and cook up enough sauce to last through the winter months)

- maple syrup

Quantities of each of these are up to your taste, especially as regards to the spicy ingredients.

Step 3: Remove the Fat From the Top of the Stock You Are Using

I used chicken stock for my chili, I prefer it not be too greasy so I scoop off the fat before I add it to the chili.

Step 4: Brown the Garlic and Onions in a Pan

A few ingredients need some preparation before adding it to the crock pot. Two of these are garlic and onion. I smashed the garlic cloves with the flat side of the knife to remove the papery outside. Then I roughly chopped the onion.

I heated just a small amount of olive oil in a pan, and browned the garlic and onion before adding it to the crock pot. These will all cook more while the chili cooks, but no one wants a mouth full of raw onion or garlic in their bite of delicious chili!

Step 5: Prepare the Carrots

Carrots add sweetness to the dish, but they take a long time to cook if you leave them in larger pieces.

First I cleaned the carrots well -- no one wants gritty dirt in their chili!

Then I rough chopped the carrots and put them in my Vitamin blender with enough water to completely cover the carrots. I then turn the blender to speed 4 which chops the carrot nicely into uniformly sized pieces perfect for the chili. The speed of the blender determines the size of the chunks.

Next I strain off the carrots and they are ready to add to the crock pot.

Step 6: Prepare the Greens

I picked the greens from the garden, then I washed them well, and roughly chopped the greens into bitesize pieces that are ready to add to the crockpot.

Step 7: Loading the Crock Pot

Once your prep work is finished, its time to add everything to the crockpot!

After you add the initial liquid (I added some water as well which makes it thinner) you can turn on the crockpot. I turn it on high for six hours.

Just remember to stir as you add ingredients, and wander past and stir as it cooks.

Step 8: About 30 Minutes Before You Are Ready to Eat, Add the Pasta

The only ingredient that is at risk for overcooking is the pasta. Not everyone adds pasta to their chili but I prefer to add it. This should only cook for 30 to 20 minutes before serving. This is longer than the package cooking time, but the chili is not boiling so it takes longer to cook.

Step 9: Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor!

Time to get out your favorite soup mug and load it with chili!

I used one I made at the pottery studio, hope you like it!

Once you finish eating, be sure to package the leftovers to keep you fed for a while. I scooped mine into one cup canning jars and put them in the freezer. I filled twenty one cup jars for my freezer, that should keep me fed for a bit.

Hope you enjoy the recipe, give it a try even if you are missing a few ingredients from the list. You can always make substitutions!

Step 10: Save the Scraps for Your Chickens!

As you prep your vegetables, if you happen to have pet chickens be sure to save your scraps for their dinner. If you are not fortunate enough to have chickens, you can put these scraps in your compost so you can grow even more yummy greens.

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