The first cold has hit Austin. This time last year, a handful of mornings covered the roads with ice, bringing the city to a screeching halt. We’re talking schools shutting down, cars skidding across the roads, and the sound of sirens filling the morning air. In fact, one 24-hour period saw 108 crashes within city limits. Fortunately none resulted in serious injury, but still, we have no idea what we’re doing in the cold.
All the while Northern transplants with the cold weather know-how triumphed and wondered at the locals’ ineptitude. And that’s not a shot at anyone – I am one of the inept locals who cannot be trusted operating a moving vehicle in cold weather conditions.
I’m fully aware that our winters are child’s play compared to almost everywhere else, especially since my brother and his family in Iowa are in the midst of a blizzard right now, while we chatter our teeth at a wind chill of 25 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m weak, and I embrace it.
Nonetheless, we are prepared for our coldest season. We each have a cozy down jacket from Costco (suburrrrrbiaaaa!), Kevin has finally dug out the only pair of close toed shoes he’ll wear when Chacos aren’t an option (black converse. He also wore them at our wedding), and the dogs’ coats are fluffier than ever.
And we have chili. Vegetarian chili, to be exact.
I was inspired to make this for an under-the-weather friend who follows a vegetarian diet. While Kevin and I are happy meat-eaters, we do enjoy changing it up with meatless meals, even vegan ones fairly often, like the Coconut Curry Vegetables.
This chili is that happy, rare combination of hearty and low calorie, packed with an abundance of protein via black beans and kidney beans. I was fairly generous with the spices, making sure the classic cayenne-chili powder-cumin-paprika flavors were lost on no one. Aaaaaand it includes chipotle peppers in adobo, so you know the final taste will be deep, rich, and smoky. Top with sharp cheddar to add creamy, cheesy goodness. Serve with these cornbread muffins for a spicy liquid-to-mouth vessel.
So whether you’re bravely watching mountains of snow accumulate in your front yard, or you’re scrounging for the one pair of gloves you use twice a year, I hope this fills your belly and keeps you warm!
And if that doesn’t work, try bourbon.