Chili is a winter staple around here. I used to make it with ground beef and beans, lots of chili powder, beef broth and tomatoes. Until I found this vegetarian recipe that my family has actually said they like better than the meat variety!
One single batch of this feeds our family of four for more than 3 meals each. I usually freeze some in small batches for Piper and I to eat on nights when Jason and Allie eat meat. It's a lot of prep, but it goes a long way.
- 1pound (2 1/2 cups) dried beans (I have used black beans, red kidney and pinto all with good results)
- 2dried ancho chiles or 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1/2ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped coarse
- 4teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2cup walnuts, toasted
- 1(28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
- 3tablespoons tomato paste
- 6garlic cloves, minced
- 3tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4cup vegetable oil
- 2pounds onions, chopped fine
- 1tablespoon ground cumin
- 7cups water
- 2/3cup medium-grind bulgur
- 1/4cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Toppings: cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, chopped tomatoes, fresh or pickled jalapenos, black olives
- 1. Bring 4 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt, and beans to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans and rinse well. Wipe out pot.
- 2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange anchos on rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant and puffed, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate and let cool, about 5 minutes. Stem and seed chiles. Grind toasted chiles, mushrooms, and oregano in spice grinder or food processor until finely ground. Remove from food processor to a bowl.
- 3. Process walnuts in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a different bowl. Process drained tomatoes, tomato paste, jalapeño(s), garlic, and soy sauce in food processor until tomatoes are finely chopped, about 45 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
- 4. Heat oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add ground chile mixture and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rinsed beans and water and bring to boil. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 45 minutes.
- 5. Remove pot from oven. Stir in bulgur, ground walnuts, tomato mixture, and reserved tomato juice. Cover pot and return to oven. Cook until beans are fully tender, about 2 hours.
- 6. Remove pot from oven, stir chili well, and let stand, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve. (Chili can be made up to 3 days in advance.)