Chili is the ultimate gift to cooks in small kitchens. It requires only one pot, the result is a hardy, filling meal that can feed a fleet, and, in the case of this recipe, it’s also extremely cheap.
Though the dish has long been hailed as a meat-lovers’ favorite, we've found that if done correctly, the familiarity of the flavors is what makes people want to eat it all night long. In this vegetarian version, the chipotle compensates in flavor for the absence of slow-cooked beef brisket by giving the dish a down-home, rich smokiness.
- Two 15.5-ounce cans kidney beans
- One 15.5-ounce can black beans
- One 15.5-ounce can pinto beans
- 2 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
- 1 yellow squash
- 2 large sweet onions
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 orange pepper (if unavailable, double up on red)
- Three 14.5-ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, preferably Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes in Adobo
- ½ quart vegetable stock
- One 7-ounce can mild green chilies
- One-half 7-ounce can whole chipotles in adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bottle dark Mexican beer, preferably Negra Moderno
- 1 bunch cilantro stems, saving the leaves for garnish
- Shredded Monterey Jack cheese, for garnish
- 2 limes, each cut into 6 thin wedges, for garnish
- Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish
- Diced avocado, for garnish
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté onions and peppers until beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and the squash and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and continue to simmer. Meanwhile, add garlic cloves, cilantro stems, green chilies, and chipotles to a small food processor.* Puree mixture. Add ½ cup of stock, and pulse to combine. Pour mixture into pot of simmering vegetables. Rinse beans thoroughly in a colander to get rid of the canning liquids, and then add to the pot. Add salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, beer, and the remaining stock.
Simmer with the lid off, stirring frequently until the liquids begin to thicken and the vegetables have begun to break down. Serve with garnishes in bowls on the side, so guests can customize their own chili.
The chili is best if made the night before, and can keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
*Note: For the chili, if you do not have any type of blender or food processor, just make sure to finely mince the aforementioned ingredients.