OK, so this is totally cheap, RECYCLED content, but I can’t help myself. Whenever the temperatures drop and autumn shivers start to creep down my arms, I crave one food more than any other: CHILI. I’ve been making this recipe for about 6 years now, and I have yet to taste a better chili. Seriously. It’s ridiculously good.
ANNA’S VEGETARIAN CHILI (vegan, actually)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tbsp chili powder*
28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil**
14 oz can black beans**
14 oz can kidney beans**
1 cup corn kernels
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions, carrots and garlic; sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add yellow pepper, jalapenos, celery and chili powder; cook another 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans (with liquid), corn, salt and spices. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in bulgur wheat. Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes (I usually let everything simmer for a couple of hours to let the flavors really develop, but it’s okay to take it off when the veggies and bulgur are soft), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Just as you’re taking the chili off the heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar. I know it might seem weird to put it in, but trust me—it really does make the chili taste extra amazing.
*What we call “chili powder” in the US is actually a blend of several spices. Please don’t use 2tbsp of straight cayenne pepper! If blended chili powder is not available in your part of the world, you can add an extra tbsp of cumin, and then just add your cayenne a pinch at a time to taste.
**I take the easy route and use canned beans and tomatoes. You can soak dried beans and use fresh tomatoes if you prefer, of course, but you will want to add water to make up for the liquid in the cans.
As always, I’d love to hear what kinds of modifications and variations you’ve made to this recipe, since it is really flexible. I’ve subbed chickpeas and edamame in place of kidney beans plenty of times, and I often use farro instead of bulgur wheat depending on what I have in the house. I’m really partial to Muir Glen’s fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, and using ancho chili powder in place of regular changes the flavor of the whole thing completely. Sometimes I sprinkle a little Daiya on top if I have it, but it’s definitely not essential.
This chili freezes really nicely, by the way. One pot will yield six very generous portions, so after you’ve gobbled down dinner, you can divvy up the rest into containers to heat up for lunches during the week.