LuAnn's Chili for a Wintry Night

Note that dividing the canned beans, rinsing and draining three of the cans, while pureeing the fourth can with a cup of water, the chili looks and tastes like it simmered lazily for several hours, rather than 20 minutes!  

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LuAnn divides the beans and purees ONE can with 1 cup of water, which thickens watery broth in minutes, yielding chili that looks and tastes like it simmered, lazily all afternoon! The remaining three cans are rinsed and drained, which reduces the sodium content of the beans by 30 to 40 percent!

Ingredients

Chili

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 4 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen Morningstar Farms Griller Recipe Crumbles (or other vegetarian ground beef alternative)
  • 1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste (optional)

Garnish and accompaniments

  • Shredded Cheddar cheese or non-dairy Cheddar cheese alternative
  • Sour cream or non-dairy sour cream alternative (I prefer Tofutti’s Better Than Sour Cream)
  • Additional chopped onions or sliced green onions
  • Cornbread or tortilla or corn chips

Instructions

  1. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for several minutes until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, set aside one can of the beans. Pour the remaining three cans into a large colander, then rinse thoroughly and set aside to drain. Open the tomatoes and green chiles; set aside.
  3. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic, chili powder cumin, sugar and oregano, then continue sauteing for another minute or two.
  4. Stir the rinsed and drained beans, tomatoes, green chiles, ground beef alternative, into the sauteed mixture, scraping up any stuck on bits from the bottom of the stockpot.
  5. Combine the reserved can of beans and the 1 cup of water in a blender; cover and blend until smooth, then stir the pureed beans into the stockpot. Bring the chili to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chili becomes too thick, add water, 1/4 cup at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  6. Stir in the chocolate until melted.
  7. Adjust seasonings to taste. (For a spicier chili, add black pepper).
  8. Serve chili hot. If desired, top individual servings with a small handful of cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a scattering of chopped onions or sliced green onions.
  9. Delicious served with warm cornbread (best!), or tortilla or corn chips.

Yield: about 8 hearty and warming (2-cup) servings

Recipe loosely adapted from a local newspaper, the South Bend Tribune, by LuAnn Bermeo, author of Amazing Meals I and II, a two-volume collection of family-approved, plant-based recipes.

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