Laity Sunday for July was well-worth braving the sultry summer weather. Keith Yowell led the service, Geoff Marsh gave the message, and Marianne Fimble offered communion.
Laity Sunday is one of the things that makes Grace UCC special. Once a month the congregation runs the entire service, giving our Pastor the chance to take a break.
We are always in need of folks to lead the service, or give the message. No prior experience is necessary! If you would like to participate please contact Laity Coordinator, Christine Syltevik, at Chris.Syltevik@graceuccnj.org.
Liza and Robert Darmstadt were in charge of refreshments for the social hour on Laity Sunday. The vegetarian chili they made was super-yummy, and devoured by adults and kids alike. They tripled the recipe, and not a scrap was left over.
Thank you to Robert and Liza for kindly sharing the recipe for us all to enjoy at home:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
½ teaspoon salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons chili powder*
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes**, with their juices
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnishing
1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or lime juice, to taste
Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream or crème fraîche, grated cheddar cheese, etc.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, the drained black beans and pinto beans, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for 30 minutes. Remove the chili from the heat.
For the best texture and flavor, transfer 1 ½ cups of the chili to a blender, making sure to get some of the liquid portion. Securely fasten the lid and blend until smooth (watch out for hot steam), then pour the blended mixture back into the pot. (Or, you can blend the chili briefly with an immersion blender, or mash the chili with a potato masher until it reaches a thicker, more chili-like consistency.)
Add the chopped cilantro, stir to blend, and then mix in the vinegar, to taste. Add salt to taste, too—I added ¼ teaspoon more at this point. Divide the mixture into individual bowls and serve with garnishes of your choice. This chili will keep well in the refrigerator for about 4 days or you can freeze it for longer-term storage.
View the original recipe here.
Liza notes that when she and Robert make the chili they also add two cups of frozen corn, cooked brown rice, and use “Two Alarm Chili” for the seasoning (add to taste depending on your heat preferences).