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Three Bean Chili for Chilly Nights

September 29, 2010

I’ve been craving chili lately.  The gentleman in my life doesn’t eat red meat, so when I came across Lucinda Scala Quinn’s chicken chili recipe in the September 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living (don’t judge me — it was a gift subscription), I felt inspired.  However, I seem to be playing the role of the absentminded librarian lately, because of all the ingredients I picked up at the store, I forgot… the chicken.  Yes, the chicken.  For the CHICKEN chili.  Soooo… I broiled the tomatoes, onion, and garlic for the chili as Lucinda’s recipe suggested, but I then proceeded to cook up a pot of chili almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the chicken chili I had originally set out to make.  I raided my cupboards for flavor and texture boosters that would help me create a nutritious, hearty chili without any meat.  It turned out rich, flavorful, and satisfying — and neither of us missed the meat at all.

Three Bean (or “No Chicken”) Chili

10 roma tomatoes

1 white onion

1 shallot

4 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp olive oil

4 Tbsp chili powder

2 Tbsp canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed

1 (15-oz.) can chicken or vegetable stock

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 (15-oz.) can black beans

1 (15-oz.) can red beans

1 (15-oz.) can great northern beans

2 – 3 Tbsp pureed pumpkin

Puree the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in a food processor until smooth.  Measure out 2 Tbsp for the chili, and reserve the rest for another use.  Peel the onion, shallot, and garlic cloves.  Cut the onion and shallot in half and place, cut side down, on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet along with the whole garlic cloves.  Cut the tomatoes in half and place them, cut side down, on the same baking sheet.  Broil the vegetables until they just begin to char, about 8 minutes.  Set aside the onion, shallot, and garlic to cool slightly.  Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until they are as smooth or chunky in consistency as you like.  When cool enough to handle, chop the onion, shallot, and garlic.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Cook the onion, shallot, and garlic until fragrant and golden, about 5 – 10 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder (do not let the spices burn!)  Add the pureed tomatoes and chipotle peppers, and stir to combine well.  Stir in the chicken or vegetable stock and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer gently for about 5 minutes.  While the soup base is simmering, rinse and drain the beans.  Add the beans to the pot, and stir well.  Finally, stir in the pureed pumpkin, and let the chili simmer gently for another 10 minutes.  Serve garnished with grated cheese, Greek yogurt, or chopped scallion.  Freshly baked bread or cornbread is a must on the side.  This chili keeps well in the refrigerator, and tastes even better the next day.


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