Sunday, January 10, 2010

I love chili, but a spicy, bean heavy chili can really do a number on my digestive system. So this chili developed out of an attempt to make a gentler chili. I got the idea to use bulgur from this vegan Texas chili and it worked beautifully. As for the beans, I cook them slowly and rinse them twice to remove some of the typical gaseous effects. The asafoetida and fennel also make beans more digestible.

The results were much more pleasing. The bulgur added a terrific texture. The combination of the ancho and chipotle peppers give the chili a fruity flavor with just a hint of after burn and the presentation is exactly what I was looking for. This chili is good alone, but I've also used it on tortilla chips with nacho sauce or as a filling in tacos or, of coarse, for chili dogs. It tastes even better as leftovers.

Vegan Chili

3 cups kidney beans (or mix of kidney, pinto or black), soaked overnight
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 Anaheim peppers, seeded & finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups bulgur
28 oz crushed tomatoes
28 oz diced tomatoes
2 quarts water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar

Ancho Spice Blend:
2 oz dried ancho peppers
1 chipotle pepper
1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tbs coriander seed
1 tbs cumin seed
1 tbs fennel seed
1 tbs oregano
2 tbs paprika
1/2 tsp asafoetida (optional)

For the beans, drain and rinse the beans, then put in a pot of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour. Drain and rinse again. I start the beans, then do all the chopping and make the spice blend, then drain the beans when I'm done. The beans will not be fully cooked.

For the spice blend, heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the whole coriander, cumin and fennel seeds. Dry fry, stirring frequently until the seeds develop a toasted aroma. Set aside and let them cool for a few minutes. Tear the dried ancho and chipotle peppers apart and discard the seeds. In a spice grinder or coffee grinder, blend the peppers, whole spices, dried shiitake mushrooms and combine with the other spices. This will take several batches. Set aside.

Once the beans have been drained, heat the oil over medium high in a large stock pot, or the pot you cooked the beans in. Add the onions, celery, and Anaheim peppers. Saute until soft, then add the garlic and saute until the garlic is fragrant. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the spice blend and the beans. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring occsionally until the beans are soft. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.

12 Servings: 351 cal (8g fat, 59g carbs, 15g protein)



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  1. Now that looks like some serious vegan chili!

  2. You should try soaking your beans with a tablespoon or 2 of baking soda for even just a few hours. I usually do 2-3 bowls of different beans when I have days off. This helps tremendously with the gassy thing.

    I usually do a bowl of black beans, pinto beans and chick peas. Each glass bowl gets 1-2 T baking soda and they are stirred up and left for over night soaking. Make sure you have plenty of water (cover at least 2 inches) and room for the beans to expand.

    Then the next morning I rinse all beans and set about to cook them all. I usually cook them on the stove top, but you could just as easily cook one of the batches in a slow-cooker as well. What ever works for you.


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