Mark and I did something we hardly ever do – we laid in bed last night and talked until it was well past our bedtime. Do other married couples sometimes forget to TALK beyond conversations having do to with the daily grind? I told him the days just whip by and I wish there were more hours in the day to do everything. He told me I over-commit myself. He’s not wrong!
As I post the first entry to my 10th annual chili contest, I can’t even believe it. TEN YEARS! Ten years of blogging and 10 years of chili. Kind of mind blowing, honestly. I feel like a founding father (mother) of the interwebs! Kind of like Mark and I feel like founding fathers of online dating – we met on Match.com in 2004…WAY before online dating was acceptable. It was straight up desperate at that point in time.
Anyway, my point is…time FLIES. I’m posting in my 10th annual chili contest and my BABY is 3 years old. Neither seems possible, but for the sake of my mommy hear that is struggling with kids growing up too fast…let’s talk chili!
No, just kidding. Let’s first talk football. The Fighting Illini are 2-0, y’all. And unless something goes horribly wrong this weekend, we should be 3-0. We look good, our QB appears comfortable with both running and passing, and that’s something Illinois fans haven’t been able to say in quite some time. The UConn game last week was most enjoyable and as usual, I’m feeling optimistic about the season. I’m shooting for bowl eligibility and I’m guessing the Illini athletic director and head coach, Lovie Smith, share my aspirations.
So, yay! But let’s get into some chili talk. Not only was this the first submission of 2019, but it was also the one that pique my curiosity the most. I was a little put off by the bean soaking and long cook time, but for me, that just boils down to planning. I was around all morning anyway and so the prep time and cook time is nearly all hands-off. Bonus! I even learned how to “quick soak” beans – not difficult and the bag told me exactly what to do.
The results? WOW! I don’t even know how to describe this chili because it wasn’t what I was expecting. With such a unique ingredient list and no meat, I was definitely curious! As Katie described in her submission email, the meatless chili is somehow quite “meaty”, or hearty, if you will. The flavor profile is robust and that slow slimmer locks in flavors of sweet, spicy, and savory so well. The whole family LOVED it and this dietitian LOVES that nutrition profile – look at all that fiber! The 10th annual chili contest is off to one STRONG start!!
- 1 lb dried pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight or quick-soaked
- 2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium vegetable broth
- 12 oz beer, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ancho chile, whole
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and membranes removed, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 green bell peppers, chopped
- 1 Tbsp cumin seeds*
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp hot chili powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 (15 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ tsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp honey (or sugar to be vegan)
- Drain the soaked beans and rinse them well. Place beans, broth, and half the beer in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the bay leaves, ancho chile, jalapeño pepper, and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, over low heat until the beans are nearly tender, about 1½ hours.
- Transfer the beans and any remaining liquid to a large bowl and set aside.
- Return the pot to the heat and add the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the bell peppers and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add cumin seeds and next 7 ingredients, through dried oregano. Lower the heat slightly, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it just becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the beans to the pot along with the onion mixture. Scrape the onion mixture into the simmering beans. Deglaze the pan with the remaining beer, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir the tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire, soy sauce, salt, and honey into the beans. Continue to simmer, partially covered, until the seasonings are well blended and the beans are fully tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Just before serving, pick out the bay leaves and the stem from the chile. Mash a couple of ladlefuls of the beans against the sides of the pot to thicken the chili slightly. Serve hot and reheats great!
*I couldn't find cumin seeds so I used dried caraway seeds
Weekly Menu: September 8th – 12th
- Sunday: charcuterie board and cake for Piper’s birthday!
- Monday: Tangy Sweet and Sour Meatballs with rice
- Tuesday: Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas with rice and corn
- Wednesday: leftovers
- Thursday: Curried Shrimp Biryani with naan