I’m a sucker for most kinds of chili, especially when the weather is cold and I’m craving that comforting bowl of rich goodness. Generally, I like meat of some sort in my chili, and in addition to my signature Holy Mole Turkey Chili, I make and enjoy all kinds of and meat and bean chilis. In the last couple of weeks we’ve been taking a more healthy road around here as you may have noticed, and the other day I remembered a recipe I used to make long ago for a rather delicious, and quite frugal, black bean chili. This chili is completely vegetarian (I think it might actually qualify as vegan (!), even), and the toppings for it can be customized to your desires. I like to stick with the veggie and cheese variety of toppings to let the beans shine through.
This recipe takes a couple of days to pull together due to the soaking and cooking of the beans, but it’s well worth the effort and makes a goodly amount of chili. You can it eat on it for several days, use it as a fine company dish for a casual Sunday supper, or have some leftovers to freeze. And best of all, it’s so hearty, you’ll never miss the meat, cross my heart! xo
Vegetarian/Vegan Black Bean Chili
(Makes 8-10 servings)
4 cups of dried black (turtle) beans, rinsed well
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 large green bell peppers, chopped (yes, green)
2 large onions chopped
10 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 generous Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried crumbled basil
2 teaspoons dried crumbled oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or you can use a bit more to taste)
3 cups water
2-4 oz. cans of diced green chilies
1 cup tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix and Match for Vegan or Use Them All Garnishes for Vegetarian Chili:
Chopped red onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Grated extra sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese
Place the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 3 inches and soak them overnight. (See exhibit A of what not to soak them in!) Drain the beans and rinse, then return them to the pot and cover with another 3 inches of water. Bring them to a boil, skim off the foam (see exhibit B), reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain well.
Heat the oil in a heavy dutch oven or a stock pot over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, onion and garlic, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, basil, oregano and cayenne to the pot and cook the spices, stirring constantly, about 2 more minutes. Add the beans, 3 cups water, canned chilies, tomato sauce, tomato paste and stir, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 45 minutes until the chili is thick, stirring occasionally. Add the lime juice and season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with your favorite garnishes.
Note: If you need to naturally dye anything, you could use the soaking water from the black beans to do it, resulting in a nice purpley blue color! How’s that for waste not?
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