According to Diana Shaw, author of “The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook,” chili is not always a topic to discuss in polite company: “People who like chili tend to have passionate opinions about how it should be made and might prefer slugging it out to conceding that their recipe might not be the definitive one.”
Well, out of such circumstances are chili cook-offs born. If you believe “vegetarian chili” is an oxymoron, read no further. But as a lover of chili and of vegetarian dishes, I find this recipe has a respectable amount of garlic, spicy chiles, onions and beans. Add shredded cheddar cheese and a topping of sliced green onions, and you’ve got a pretty good chili, easy on the arteries.
2 teaspoons corn oil, canola oil or vegetable oil
1 large red or white onion, chopped
4 large gloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tomatillos, husked and chopped, or 1/4 cup canned green salsa verde with tomatillos
1 jalapeño, cored, seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground crumbled, dried oregano
2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
4 large tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped or 2 cups canned or boxed chopped tomatoes
3 cups cooked kidney, pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup sliced scallions, with some of the green
Sour cream or strained yogurt
Minced fresh cilantro
Crumbled corn chips
Heat oil in large skillet. When it is hot add onion, garlic, tomatillos (if using fresh), jalapeño, red bell pepper, cilantro, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Reduce heat to medium and sauté, stirring often until vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir until it is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
[amazon-product]051788268X[/amazon-product]Add the tomatoes and the green salsa, if using. Stir well and simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 7 minutes. Stir in the beans, cover and simmer until the mixture thickens further, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let the chili sit at least an hour before reheating and serving. If you are keeping the chili for more than 2 hours before serving, refrigerate it after it cools to room temperature. Reheat to serve.
Sprinkle cheese and onions on each bowl of hot chili. Pass the sour cream, cilantro and chips, if using, for garnish.
Makes 4 servings.
Adapted from “The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook” by Diana Shaw