Eating and Reading: D. Ray Pauwels' Veggie Chili and "Who Iced the Snowman?"

Though cozy mysteries can and should be read at all times of the year, winter brings with it the perfect weather for curling up inside and reading mysteries by the fire. That same weather also makes it the perfect time of year to fire up the stove and experiment in the kitchen, and Cozy Cat’s cookbook, Cozy Cats Cook: Over 20 Authors Share Recipes, will help you expand your repertoire with enticing recipes from your favorite Cozy Cat authors. The cookbook can be purchased from Amazon.

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This winter, the Cozy Cat Blog will be publishing four installments of an “Eating and Reading” blog series where recipes from Cozy Cats Cook will be paired with one of Cozy Cat’s mysteries.


This week, we’re cooking D. Ray Pauwels’ “No Fire Without Smoke” Veggie Chili sin Carne, a delectable vegetarian chili bursting with rib-sticking flavor. Pauwels’ dish is an easy one-pot meal that goes well when paired with his funny, wintry mystery, Who Iced the Snowman?, available for purchase from Amazon. Below you’ll find the recipe.

D. Ray Pauwels enjoying his chili. 

D. Ray Pauwels enjoying his chili. 


2-3 cloves garlic or more     

1 large white or red onion 

2 Tbsp. chili powder             

1 Tbsp. cumin powder 

1 Tbsp. cocoa powder or mole sauce     

1 dash liquid smoke   

1 cup textured vegetable protein (hydrated) 

Vegetables: any combination of…  1 large carrot, peeled              

1 stalk of celery   

2-3 small bell peppers (any combination of yellow, green, red or orange)   

1 jalapeno or chipotle pepper (from a can, e.g. Herdez brand) 

1 large white potato, sweet potato or yam    

½  pound of mushrooms 

½ cup water

1 large can of diced tomatoes (or whole tomatoes, chopped or equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes) 

2 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce                            

1 cup of corn kernels 

2 cans of kidney, pinto, or black beans 

optional toppings: chopped red onion, grated old cheddar/Monterey jack/queso, guacamole, sour cream/yoghurt, or hot sauce   



1.     Chop the vegetables to your preferred level of  “chunkiness” (smaller or larger).  Set aside in a bowl. 

2.     Heat the oil in a large pot just below medium heat on a large burner. Add diced onions and crushed garlic, sauté. 

3.     Add powdered spices, liquid smoke, and cocoa/mole.    Stir a few minutes until onions are translucent .

4.     Add TVP or tofu (if using). Stir another few minutes to blend with spices.

5.     Add all vegetables and the ½ cup of water. Raise heat to medium-high and cook for 5-10 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

6.     Add tamari sauce, tomatoes, corn and beans. 

7.     Stir well and cover. Bring to a boil and turn head down to low.    Let simmer at least a ½ hour, but longer is better. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add a can of tomato paste. If you have a slow cooker, you can transfer the chili to it and keep it warm at low heat.

8.     Optional: Serve in shallow bowls and sprinkle cheese on top so it melts. Put a dollop of guacamole in the middle followed by a smaller dollop of sour cream or yoghurt, making a multi-colored target. Dash a bit of  hot sauce in the very center for a dramatic bull’s eye and garnish with red onion. 


*This recipe goes great with some zucchini bread on the side, a favorite of the Easter Bunny in Who Iced the Snowman?.

The finished veggie chili with a slice of homemade zucchini bread. 

The finished veggie chili with a slice of homemade zucchini bread. 


Stay tuned for next week’s post, where we’ll be exploring a sweet recipe paired with a fashionably cozy mystery.

Patricia RockwellComment