Today the temperatures hit the low 40s. I walked in the dreary rain to buy a hot coffee to keep me going through an afternoon of midterm reviews, puzzled by the fact that just yesterday I was basking in the sunshine. The Miami girl in me dreads the transition into the chilly depths of fall. These first forays into the 40s are just the beginning of months of wearing layers upon layers of clothing and watching hard-earned summer tan lines fade into a monochromatic abyss. But the newfound Midwesterner in me has come to appreciate the coziness that accompanies the change in weather. Nights like tonight, where a weekend of studying looms ahead and the cold wind blows me straight into my apartment and a pair of sweatpants, invite the creation of a comforting meal.
Kate and I came together this evening to concoct this hearty, spicy vegetarian chili. We used three types of beans: garbanzos, black beans, and lentils, the latter which help impart a more ground beef-like texture without using meat or any meat substitute. Making this chili was all about eye-balling ingredients, so the measurements written below are a bit rough, but in our opinion, making a big pot of soup is all about adding dashes of this and that until your tastebuds are satisfied.
Served with homemade cornbread that Kate whipped up and a healthy dose of drugs (pharmacology studies, that is), this chili helped combat the inevitable chill that is taking over the city.
Three Bean Vegetarian Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, diced
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
4 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp oregano
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 can garbanzos, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup dry lentils
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup frozen corn
In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion for about 5 minutes, until beginning to become translucent. Add garlic and carrot and saute another 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and jalapeno and saute another 3 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and tomato paste and allow to cook for about 1 minute. Deglaze the pot with red wine. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and beans. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent contents from sticking to the bottom of the pan. At this point, sample the chili and add salt, sugar, frozen corn, and any more spices to suit your taste. If the chili has absorbed a lot of liquid, add water in 1-2 cup increments. Allow chili to cook for another 25-30 minutes, stirring often, until lentils are tender.
Serve with a generous hunk of cornbread and toppings of your choice. Our recommendations: cheddar, diced avocado, cilantro, and lime.