Back in October I made this new concoction for the Chili Cook off here at OU. I wanted to see if I could make the flavor combination I adore so much is Spinach Artichoke dip into a chili recipe. I was pleasantly surprised that it worked so well. Others agreed as well as it won first place at the cook off! Whoot Whoot! There were some disgruntled folk that debated if it could be called a “chili” or if it was simply a soup. I personally believe that although not a traditional “chili” it definitely fits many of the defining qualities including the fact that it had fire roasted green chili and it’s base was made from legumes/Lentil. But, alas no one debated whether or not it was tasty! However, because I made it on the fly and a HUGE batch for the cook off purposes, the recipe for this one is even “looser” then usual. What I loved the most about this recipe was that it was a total chop and drop meal and it froze incredibly well (even with the crab).
So how’d I do it Rachel Mock wanted to know. Well, I started with a vegetable stock and added some of the “juice” from my artichokes to boot. When that started boiling I added 16oz of Goya Red Lentils. While that was cooking I used my food processor to mince 2 bags of Spinach, 24oz of Artichoke hearts in brine, 2 large Onions, 1 Cup of Garlic, and ½ a pack of Mori-Nu soft silken tofu (the kind made for smoothies). I added all these things to the pot and let them cook together. I also added healthy helpings of cayenne pepper, Old Bay Seasoning, and granulated garlic. I also added a splash of cooking Sherry for acid. When everything else was soft and tasting good I turned it off and added the Crab with its juices, a splash of fresh lemon juice, and Old Bay Seasoning to taste. I also added some fresh Parmesan cheese at the last moment for a creamy extra texture.
I think the secret to making this pop is really the garlic. I added LOADS of garlic. I cooked half at the beginning and then added the second half 2/3 of the way into cooking. Also the lemon and Sherry gave it the right balance of acid that made the Bay Seasoning and Crab taste pop. You can also add shrimp or chicken or leave it totally vegetarian.
This was a pretty simple and straightforward recipe. Nothing fancy. I would always advise to use the freshest ingredients and temper the taste for your own personal taste. MY personal adage when trying a new recipe is start with 1/3 of the suggested seasonings. Then as it cooks I will add a little more seasoning at a time and adjust to my own personal taste buds. I am also a person who loves things spicy and garlicky so make sure to caterer to your personal desires. But, I will again say that I think the garlic really helped this dish meld for me. So, I hope this works well for you too.
SPINACH ARTICHOKE CHILI WITH CRAB AND SHRIMP
64oz Fresh Spinach
24oz Artichoke hearts in brine
16oz Red Lentils
2-3 Lg White Onions
1 Cup Fresh Garlic
2 stalk Leeks (whites and light green only)
1 can Roasted green chili
½ -1 cake Mori-Nu Silken Tofu (soft for smoothies)
¼ cup Fresh Lemon Juice
¼ cup Dry Sherry
16 oz Lump Crab Meat
1 cup Shrimp (peeled and chopped)
64oz Vegetable stock (you can also use seafood stock)
1 Tbsp Zatarains liquid crab boil (optional)
1cup Parmesan Cheese (optional)
3 cup Water
4 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning (or to taste)
6 Tbsp Garlic Powder (or to taste)
3-6 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper (optional/to taste)
1. Add stock, water, 1/3 garlic and Onions, and Lentils to the a large stock pot. Allow to cook together until the lentils are soft.
2. Use the food processor to mince all the vegetables. I like my Artichokes in a thick “paste” like consistency but, you can coarsely chop if you desire. Add all of them to the stock.
3. Add second 1/3 of Garlic and Onion after about 10 minutes.
4. Add 1/3 of garlic and old bay seasoning, and the dry Sherry
5. I allow to cook together for another 20 minutes and add the last onion, garlic, and the silken tofu. I blend the silken tofu in the food processor until it’s liquid before placing it into the pot.
6. Once the vegetables and lentils are soft I turn off. I add the lemon juice, crab boil, and the Shrimp and Crab last. If you are adding Parmesan cheese this is also the place to add. The shrimp will cook in about 5 minutes from the heat of the soup.
7. Serve hot with sour dough bread!
Onions: Chromium, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Manganese, Molybdenum, Vitamin B6, folate, Potassium, Phosphorus, quercitin and Copper. This multifaceted food is found in so many recipes for it’s distinct flavor but is often overlooked for its many healthy properties. Onions are very rich in chromium, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin and lowering blood sugar. Chromium levels are depleted by the consumption refined sugars and white flour products as well as the lack of exercise. One cup of raw onion contains over 20% of the Daily Value for this important trace mineral. B6, Chromium and sulfur in onions also helps to lower high blood pressure and high Cholesterol. Onions like garlic has been shown to support gastrointestinal health, and contain anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Garlic: Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin B1,Copper, and Protein. Garlic has many great properties, but is known for its Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial and Antiviral Activity, Cardiovascular health, and potential reduction in certain forms of cancer.
Tofu: Tryptophan, Iron, Manganese, Protein, Omega 3,Selenium, Copper, Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium. Soy products are great for promoting heart health with it’s Omega 3 fatty Acids. Selenium is needed for the proper function of the antioxidant system, which works to reduce the levels of damaging free radicals in the body. Selenium is a necessary cofactor of one of the body’s most important internally produced antioxidants, glutathione peroxidase, and also works with vitamin E in numerous vital antioxidant systems throughout the body.
Shrimp: Tryptophan, Selenium, Protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and B3, iron, Phosphorus, Omega 3, Zinc, Copper, and Magnesium. Shrimp are a great low fat and low calorie food with a ton of protein! A 4oz serving provides 48% of daily protein needs with only 112 calories verses the 223 calories for the same serving size of chicken. Vitamin D is one of the most vital vitamins, but it is hard to get from food. Often called the sunshine vitamin as our skin creates it with exposure to the sun, it can also be received through food. The ability to create Vitamin D is affected by the use of sunscreens, skill color, pollution, location, age, etc. Vitamin D plays a role in most physiological functions including your immune system, thyroid, digestion, stress management, and beneficial in prevention of certain cancers including breast cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids have cardiovascular benefits including preventing and controlling blood pressure, helps with inflammation (studies are looking at its benefits with destroying plaque in the brains of Alzheimer patients), it also helps improve mood.
Spinach: Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Manganese, Folate, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, B3, B6, B1, Calcium, Potassium, Tryptophan, Vitamin E, dietary fiber, Copper, Protein, Phosphorus, zinc, Omega 3 fatty acids, Selenium.Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach with its delicate texture and jade green color provide more nutrients than any other food. Although spinach is available throughout the year, its season runs from March through May and from September through October when it is the freshest, has the best flavor and is most readily available. We all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, but you may be surprised to learn that he may also have been protecting himself against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and other diseases at the same time.
Artichoke: Low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. Niacin, Vitamin B6, Iron, Phosphorus, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Artichokes are an under-recognized source of potassium, a mineral that’s vital to maintaining normal heart rhythm, fluid balance, muscle and nerve function. One medium Artichoke provides more than 400 milligrams of potassium, about as much as a small banana. There is strong evidence that a diet rich in potassium is linked to reduced risk of stroke. Potassium also blunts the effects of salt on blood pressure. The USDA 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating more plant-based protein in place of animal-based protein as a way to help reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake. With no fat, cholesterol or trans fat, Artichokes are a healthful source of protein. One medium Artichoke provides four grams. Artichokes have been shown to have a positive effect on our livers. It helps to detoxify them and also rejuvenate the liver cell walls.
Crab: Low in Saturated Fat. Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin B12, Zinc, Copper and Selenium. Crab is not only delicious but highly nutrition. It sometimes get a bad wrap because of it’s sodium and cholesterol levels, however it’s usually the high fat butter and thick cream sauces that people add on top of them that is actually the issue not the crab itself. Although this should not be an every day meal, it is a great way to add quality protein, vitamin B, and Zinc into your diet.