Johnny Vee - Tex Mex Veggie Chilli

Chef John “Johnny Vee” Vollertsen is director and creator of the Las Cosas Cooking School in Santa Fe, New Mexico- now celebrating its 15th year under his direction. Johnny prepared and shared the below delicious recipe for Lake Austin Spa Resort's Culinary Experience Program.


Tex-Mex Veggie Chili
Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted ground cumin
2 tablespoons pure ground hot red chile
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 t ground sage
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

Garnish ingredients:
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup cup sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1 cup cheese grits

Place the olive oil in a deep, heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat. When hot add, onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Stir and fry for 3 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions become translucent.
Add cumin, ground chile, oregano and sage. Stir briskly and add the lentils, 4 cups of water, kidney beans, tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low, and cook gently for 60 minutes. Serve in warm bowls each topped with 1/4 cup cheese grits, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 tablespoon sliced scallions, pinch of jalapenos and cilantro.