Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

This is the fastest, tastiest chilli you will ever make.  Super cheap and you can generally keep the pantry items on hand and throw this baby together last minute.  Because it's meatless, there is no meat browning, or long simmering time.  I suppose you could throw the ingredients in the slow cooker if you wanted, but there's really no need when it cooks up in about 20 minutes.

I have to credit my sister for this recipe, she really came through with this one. I've made some adjustments from her original (more garlic, more spice, extra Serrano chilis!), but not because I didn't like the original, mostly because I can't ever stick to a recipe when I'm just throwing things in a pot.

2 tbsp Veg Oil (I used canola)
1 medium yellow onion
2 peppers (red, yellow, orange, green - your choice) seeded and chopped
2 Serrano chilis (I don't seed mine, I love spice.  If you don't, seed them and cut it down to one chili)
4-6 cloves of chopped garlic
1 cup of water (veg stock can be used)
1 can of crushed or diced tomatoes (the big can)
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of refried beans (THIS is the secret to an incredible chilli!)
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp (or more) cayenne
Salt and Pepper

Optional finishing toppings:
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Chopped green onion
Sour cream
Chopped fresh tomato
Chopped fresh avocado

Basically this is a chop and drop recipe.  Use a large pot and add the oil.  Chop onions and sauté for about 5 min.  Add chopped garlic and stir for 2 more minutes.  Roughly chop peppers in large pieces and add once the onion and garlic have softened.  Add Serrano chilli (or Jalepenos are fine) if using.

After the peppers have had about 3 or 4 minutes to sauté, add your dry spices now.  This allows the spices to toast slightly and will give you a better flavour.  However, watch the pot carefully, it can quickly burn.  Have your liquids ready to add once you put the dried spices in the pot.  Let the spices cook for about 1 minute and add the whole can of diced tomatoes and the cup of water.  Stir well to mix in the spices with the tomatoes.

Rinse the kidney and black beans together in a colander. Some recipes suggest not to, though I read once that rinsing beans helps to remove some of their gaseous after effect.  I'm not sure if it makes a huge difference, but I figure every bit helps.  Once the beans are rinsed under water add them to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer until you're ready to eat.

With about 5 minutes before you're ready to eat add the can of refried beans.  This adds a wonderful creaminess to the chili and really brings the whole thing together.  Don't skip this step, it's incredible.

Serve the chilli over rice (I used brown basmati) and top with your choice of cheddar cheese, green onion, sour cream, fresh tomato, or avocado.  Or hey, throw 'em all in there, all of those toppings are fantastic.

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