This vegetarian (vegan, depending on the beer you use) chili has bold Southwestern flavors and is so heartwarming on a cold wintery night– Perfect by a roaring fire with your honey…but also wonderful for the whole family! I like to use fresh grilled corn briefly roasted in a hot oven for this recipe. It gives the kernels that wonderful fire-roasted taste that adds a special touch but you can use canned (no added salt or sugar) or frozen corn if you’d like to cut on preparation time. If you want more of a “meaty” chili, you can add 2 cups of rehydrated TVP (trust me, it doesn’t sound appealing but WOW is it superb, you’d think it’s ground turkey or beef–the texture, the taste!). I serve my chili with my deliciously moist Corn bread (or Vegan Corn bread if you prefer). It’s absolutely delightful!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tsp chili powder
- 3 tsp cumin powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground thyme
- 1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder
- 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (no added oil or sugar)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- 1 bottle 12oz of dark beer of your choice (you can also use non-alcoholic beer)
- 3 large l lb -13 oz cans organic small red beans, rinsed well and drained
- 1 large 1 lb- 13 oz can organic black beans, rinsed well and drained
- 4 fresh ears of corn husked
- 2-3 Tbsp stone ground corn meal depending on how thick you like it
Heat oil in a large cast iron dutch oven (I like Le Creuset but any heavy bottom deep pan will do) over high heat, add the garlic and onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
Add the chili powder, ground cumin, thyme, chipotle, smoked paprika, salt and bay leaves and continue to sauté over medium heat for another 5 minutes.
Add canned ground tomatoes, tomato paste (TVP if using),water, beer and bring to a boil, reduce heat and continue to simmer for just a few minutes.
Add the drained beans to the pot and stir gently.
Continue to simmer covered for another 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, grill your corn, if using fresh ears of corn as instructed above.
Add the corn kernels to the chili (you can also use 1 1/2 cups canned corn, drained--no added sugar or salt).
Add the stone ground corn meal, one tablespoon at a time, stirring in between each addition so it doesn't clump and you achieve the thickness you like.
Turn off the heat and keep covered until ready to serve.
If you'd like it a little creamier, you can take out some of the beans to grind them briefly in a food processor and put them back into the soup or better yet, you can use a stick hand blender to blend the soup to desired creaminess right in the pot (see below).
I like to let my chili “sit” before I serve it so that all the flavors blend even more together and the texture is nice and thick.