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The Goddess has taken a little break…okay, it’s been a bit of a long break. She and The Latin Lover took off to the Northeast over the Christmas holiday and stayed a bit longer than anticipated.  But, she’s back now and is cooking and exploring a new flavor, jackfruit!  Before we begin, I want to thank those who kindly let us place our heads on your pillows and put our feet under your table.  You are kind, loving and it was a true joy to spend the holidays with you.  We got to see two out of the three Progeny, and that was wonderful…we’ll catch up with the third one later this year, I’m sure.  I must say, it is a joy to spend time with one’s adult children and those they love and are attached to, extended families and all!  These young people (and their friends), that she knows and loves, are smart, committed and just genuinely good people.  It gives one hope that they will make the world a better place, in spite of the mess we’ve left them to clean up.  And quite a mess it is!  Anyway, we hope that you and yours had an equally warm and joyous holiday season, regardless of how you celebrate…now, onto the more pertinent things…like food!

Jackfruit - Fresh and CannedJackfruit…yeah, it’s a thing now, the next “big deal” in the culinary world.  And you know how annoyed I am with that “bandwagon” thing that happens in the food world, but I  decided to be infinitely flexible (think pretzel flexible) and check it out.  In fairness, I had eaten it years before, when we lived in the Caribbean, but I don’t have much memory of the flavor, because when you’re using it green, there isn’t much flavor.  Let it ripen, then it’s sweet and eaten like any other fruit.  For our purposes, we’re going to use the green jackfruit, which can be purchased fresh or in cans, as we’re going to use it for texture, rather than flavor.  I purchased both fresh and canned at a local Indian market.  Canned comes in brine or water…I have both, but the one I used here was in brine.  Trader Joe’s® also carries the canned variety and that’s where I read about it, in their Flyer.  Anyway, rinse it and drain it well.  I cubed it up, but it shreds well and from what I’ve seen on the Inter”webs”, it makes decent facsimile of pulled pork.  That’s a later endeavour (yes, I used the Canadian/English spelling…I  like to do that now and then just to see if you’re paying attention!).  Jackfruit and Garbanzo ChiliToday, I made chili.  I made it more or less the way I make Prairie Chili with Beans or Chili with All the Good Stuff.

Except I used garbanzo beans, instead of kidney and black beans.  And I used jackfruit, instead of meat.  So, this version is vegetarian.  Well, actually this particular version is vegan (if you ignore the shredded cheese).  Yeah, that’s nothing you ever thought you would see here, because I don’t do vegan and I have pretty strong feelings about, but I’ll just keep those to myself.  I understand there are others who follow this lifestyle, so I thought I would make this vegan…I did give you some “optional” ingredients, though, just in case you don’t want to go that route.  I will say, the flavor is really, really good…very chili-like, which was the goal.  Definitely better the next day.  The texture is different, but I knew it would be, if for no other reason than I used garbanzo beans. The texture, or mouth-feel is different from regular chili, but not all unpleasant.  It is chunkier, for lack of a better description.  I kept the seasonings very much “chili” flavors. So, here we are and I will be honest, as you can see in the opening shot, I did sprinkle my bowl with some shredded, sharp cheddar cheese.  But, I also had a bowl the next day for lunch, without all that loveliness and we enjoyed it both ways.  Just a note…I made half this recipe.

Jackfruit and Garbanzo Chili

  • Servings: Makes about 8-10 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 celery rib, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers (I used the Little Sweeties®)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon fat)
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, grated or put through a press
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons light chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4-5 cups vegetarian or beef broth (or part lager)
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice (or whole peeled or crushed work)
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 large carrot, shredded
  • 2 cans green jackfruit, drained rinsed and coarsely diced
  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For Service:
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Finely chopped raw onion or scallions
  • Sour cream

Place a large pot over medium heat.  Add the oil, onions, and celery.  Sauté them until the edges begin to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic; sauté for another minute, then add the peppers, bay leaves, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, coriander and cocoa.  Sauté for an additional minute or two, until you can smell the spices “blooming”.  Be careful not to burn them.  Add the broth, tomatoes, and beans; stir them into the mixture.  Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Stir in the carrot, jackfruit, tomato paste, vinegar and taste.  Add some salt and pepper.  Continue to simmer for about five minutes.  If you want the mixture to be thicker, thicken with a couple of teaspoons of fine cornmeal or an arrowroot slurry.  Continue to simmer, covered, for about 3-5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the mixture stand for at least 15 minutes.  Stir and reheat, if necessary.  Serve piping hot, as is, or garnish with cilantro, cheese, onion or sour cream.

NOTE:  I didn’t remove the seeds from the canned jackfruit, and they were not at all pronounced.  Also, you may need to adjust the seasoning to your taste.  This worked for us, but….

Jackfruit and Garbanzo Chili Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019.  All rights reserved.

In thinking about this recipe, next time I will brown the jackfruit slightly.  I think it would add some additional complexity to the flavor.  I thought about it, but was afraid the jackfruit would shred up too much.  But after making this, I don’t think that will be a problem and the additional flavor would be worth it.