Monday, July 27, 2009

Three-Bean Chili

The heat of summer is sweltering, the humidity is suffocating, and the best place to be is inside with the AC cranked up and the ceiling fans whirring away. So what better time of year to make a huge pot of spicy chili?
Yeah, I know, it's a little too hot for a bowl of spicy peppers, onions, and beans, but boy is it good!

Despite cooking soup/chili/stew at least 3-4 times a month during the winter, I rarely make the stuff during the summer since it is so hot outside and you don't really want to eat anything too heavy because of the heat. But, it was time for a vegetarian meal (especially after eating potato chips, burgers, and sour cream & ranch dip for dinner the night before at our first pool party of the year). I didn't feel like making black bean and bacon smash, which graces our table at least every other week, so I turned to my favorite vegetarian chili recipe.

This is yet another adaptation of a Rachel Ray recipe (the original can be found here). I was forced to make some changes after some of the ingredients were not to be found in the cupboard. This chili is spicy, but you can always adjust the spices to suit your taste.
Start out by heating a couple tablespoons of oil a big pot over medium heat, and then add the chopped onion (if you love onions like me you can use 1 1/2 to 2), bell peppers, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then saute for a few minutes until the veggies soften. Then, deglaze the pan with beer or stock. Fortunately for my dinner, some poor person had left behind a bottle of Corona Extra after our pool party on Saturday. His loss was my gain-- the beer gives the chili a little kick.

After deglazing the pan, add the tomatoes (please use the fire-roasted! They taste so much better. But, if you can't find them, use regular tomatoes-the dish is still great.). You could use crushed tomatoes, but I like a chunky chili so I use the diced.

Fire roasted tomatoes-- good in chili, tomato sauces, soups, and any other recipe that requires canned tomatoes.

Follow that up with the two cans of whole beans (we'll add the refried beans later), the can of Rotel (or can of green chiles), the cumin, the chili powder, chipotle in adobe sauce, salt and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, mix up a batch of Jiffy corn muffins to serve on the side.

About 10 minutes before you serve, mix in the can of refried beans. It helps if you add the refried beans in spoonfuls, that way they beans "dissolve" into the stew faster. The refried beans help thicken the chili.

Last night I ate my bowl plain, with a Jiffy corn muffin on the side, in front of the TV. In spite of the fact I was overheating by the end of the bowl due to the spiciness, the chili hit the spot and providing a filling (and guilt-free) meal.

This is also good topped with cheese (Monterrey Jack, please), and I'd imagine sour cream and guacamole would be good, too.

Three-Bean Chili (serves at least 6)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 onion
2 or 3 bell peppers (any color)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 16-oz. cans of beans (any kind you like- I usually use black, pinto, or kidney)
1 cup of beer or chicken stock
1 small can of minced green chilies OR 1 can of Rotel
2 16-oz cans of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can of vegetarian refried beans
1 tablespoon of cumin
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of chili powder
1-2 teaspoons of chipotle in adobe sauce (you could dice up a chipotle and toss it in)

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