It’s disheartening to read most of the vegetarian chili recipes out there. Many of them are bean and vegetable stews with little depth of flavor. I wanted to create a vegetarian chili that is deeply flavored with real chiles, and spicy enough to make smoke come out of your ears. I think I’ve finally cracked the code with this recipe. It includes five types of chile peppers, including smoky chipotles, along with pan-charred onions and serranos, beer and a hint of chocolate – resulting in a chili that is intense, complex and spicy. And most definitely not for wimps.
1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
2 small dried ancho chiles
1 dried guajillo chile
12 ounces beer, divided
1 large white onion, thickly sliced
4 serrano or jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, diced
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin, preferably freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano leaves
1 package chicken-style seitan, well chopped
4 ounces canned chopped fire-roasted chiles, preferably Hatch
1 chipotle pepper, from canned peppers in adobo
2 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups reserved bean cooking liquid
1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup Sour cream, for garnish (omit for a vegan meal)
1/2 cup chopped red onion, for garnish
Step 1Soak the beans overnight, in a large bowl of cold water.
Step 2Drain the beans, cover well with fresh cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.
Step 3Heat a cast-iron pan until very hot. Add the dried chiles and press down with a spatula and cook until the peppers begin to soften and are beginning to blacken, about 1 minute.
Step 4Remove the roasted chiles from pan, cut off the stems and shake out the seeds. Tear the chiles into pieces and place in a blender along with 1 cup of the beer, and puree until smooth.
Step 5Re-heat the cast-iron pan over high heat and add the onion slices and serrano peppers. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning the onions once, until they are well charred and soft. Remove the onions and chop. Cut the stems off the serranos and chop.
Step 6Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic, celery and bell peppers and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add the prepared onions and serranos, cumin, black pepper and oregano and cook for 2 minutes.
Step 7Add the seitan, fire-roasted green chiles, chipotle and chile puree and cook 2 minutes more.
Step 8Add the remaining beer, tomatoes, bean cooking liquid and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Step 9Add cooked beans and cook 10 minutes more.
Step 10Stir in chocolate and serve, topping with sour cream and onions.\r\n