Tempeh is a soy product that you can buy at the market near the packages of tofu. Although store-bought tempeh is fully cooked it will have a bitter taste if you do not first simmer it. The good news is that simmering tempeh is quick and easy to do and when you are done you will have a very versatile meat-free staple that you can use in place of ground beef in almost any dish!
1. First open your tempeh. The easiest way to get it out of the package is to cut the whole thing in half–plastic and all– and then easily slide each half out of the plastic.
2. Cut tempeh into 1 inch thick strips and place in a sauce pan. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water so that the water comes 2/3-3/4 of the way up the tempeh. Over high heat, bring water to a boil, then cover with a lid, and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. With the heat still on, use tongs to flip each piece, then replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes or until water has evaporated and the tempeh easily crumbles when cut with a wooden spoon.
4. Use tongs to place tempeh on a plate or cutting board and allow to cool to the touch. Use fingers to crumble tempeh into a bowl. Now, it is ready to be used in chili, or any number of dishes. Enjoy!