At a deli one afternoon, I ordered a tomato-vegetable soup and a baked potato. When I received the two items, they looked like they belonged together, so I poured the soup over the potato. The result? A tasty new meal and the spark that led to all sorts of new dishes that turn baked potatoes into the base for soups, stews, and chilies. This is one of my favorites. (From the book, The Forks Over Knives Plan)
4 large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), scrubbed
1 cup finely chopped red onion
8 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed and diced (about 2 cups)
2 cups diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder or to taste
4 cups diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1½ cups diced celery
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Use a fork to poke holes in the potatoes in several places. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until a fork goes through to the center easily, 40 to 60 minutes.
2. Sauté the onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, paprika, and chili powder in a skillet over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water, if needed, to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan.
3. Add the tomatoes, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor or using a hand blender, blend until smooth. Transfer back to the saucepan.
4. Add 2 cups of water, chickpeas, celery, corn, vinegar and lemon juice to the sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the chili thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Use a sharp knife to cut down the length of each potato and spread them open. Pour a good helping of the chili over each potato. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
Serves: 4, makes 6 cups; Ready in: 60 minutes
Photo by: Oliver Barth, LA Food Photography (lafoodphotography.com)