VEGETARIAN BLACK BEAN CHILI

November 22, 2010

Sometimes what you need is a turkey antidote.

Don’t get me wrong, I like turkey just fine—I plan on eating quite a bit of it myself, and I love the traditional trappings it comes with, the dressing, the cranberry sauce, the green beans.  I love standing in a pool of light from the fridge, pulling apart breast meat with my fingers, slapping it onto bread slathered with mayo and layering it with a few spears of Jill’s pickled okra for the best midnight sandwich ever.  I even like making turkey soup, simmering the carcass with carrots, tossing in some barley and kale, sopping up bowlfuls with hunks of sourdough.

But at some point, we all tire of the turkey.  Don’t we?  And it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.  AND WE JUST WISH IT WOULD GO AWAY.  Because we’d like to eat something completely different (but still tasty and homey and wintry) now.

Enter this chili.  If you’re planning to host or be hosted this holiday, if you need to feed a passel of people on the cheap (and before you can bust out the turkey, or after you’re exhausted its ability to feed you), I recommend this recipe.  Toss it in the slow cooker, preferably a few days ahead of when you plan on serving it, and set it out with cheddar, sour cream, chips, & cornbread.  The best part?  If you get tired of it, you can throw it in the freezer for later.

VEGETARIAN BLACK BEAN CHILI

a former coworker brought this in for lunch one day & I fell in love.  adapted slightly from the recipe he kindly provided

2 medium eggplants, sliced into thick rounds

3 zucchini, sliced into thick rounds

2 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed

2 green bell peppers, seeded & halved

2 onions, diced

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

1 28-oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes

2 14-oz. cans black beans, drained

2-3 cups vegetable broth, depending on how thick or thin you prefer

½ cup chopped cilantro

2 ½ T chili powder

2 T ground cumin

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

optional: ¼ – ½ tsp. cayenne

Line a baking dish with paper towels, then layer the eggplant on top.  Generously with salt and let the eggplant sit for about an hour.  Rinse & dry the eggplant, then toss it in a bowl with the bell peppers, & mushrooms.  Drizzle in balsamic vinegar, salt, & pepper and toss the vegetables to coat.

Grill the vegetables (or use a grill pan, as I did) to achieve a bit of char.  Cool before  charred a bit on the outside and cooked through, then dice them all.

In a large soup pot, sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil until fragrant.  Add the grilled vegetables, tomatoes, black beans, broth, herbs, & spices.  Salt to taste and cook over low heat for at least 45 minutes or up to a few hours.

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