Monday, February 15, 2010

spicy vegetable chili



I'm continuing the trend you've seen posted this week on veggie-packed meals. Weeks 2 and 3 of the cleanse I'm currently undertaking call for 70% of the food I intake to be in the form of raw vegetables. Given that I'm in Washington state at the moment and it's 40 degrees and raining, the thought of 70% raw fruits and veggies is a little bone chilling. So I'm cutting myself some slack. I'm not going to concede on the 70% vegetable part, but am going to try to be ok with the fact that they are mostly going to be, well, cooked. It's a compromise I'm willing to live with (at least until I get back to Cali, where it's a little warmer).

I wasn't planning on such a spicy chili, but it turns out that a little chipotle in adobo sauce goes a long way. I used 2 about tablespoons, and would consider the result to be on the spicy side of medium. Any more and you'll have some serious spice on your hands. Reduce it if you aren't a spice lover (but think about making it available on the side if you are feeding anyone who might want to increase the heat in their bowl).

Spicy Vegetable Chili
Makes a very big pot of chili

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 handful mushrooms, chopped
2 Tbsp. chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes (with liquid)
4 c. kidney beans, cooked & drained*
2 c. small red beans, cooked & drained*
2 c. water
*I used dried beans for my version, but if you're looking for a shortcut, canned beans will work as well. Just make sure they are rinsed well to reduce the salt that is added in the canning process.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium low heat. Add onions and garlic. I like to chop my way through the other ingredients, adding them to the pot as they are chopped and stirring occasionally. Once you've added all of the produce, increase heat to medium. Stir and cook a few minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add chipotles in adobo and spices. Stir and cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, beans, and water. Stir well. Allow to cook together, partially covered, over low heat as long as you can (at least an hour to give the flavors a chance to meld). As with most stews, this will be even better on the second day. It also freezes well if you don't think you can make your way through the leftovers.

This chili with a kick provided the perfect internal warmth on a damp Northwest day.

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