We love this simple vegetarian chili so much that I end up making it a few times a month. I often vary the ingredients, adding additional veggies, swapping chipotle for fresh jalapenos, using lentils instead of kidney and black beans...really, anything goes here.
Yesterday it was snowy and frigid in NYC and we were too worn out from a week of work and houseguests to go to the grocery store, so this recipe is almost entirely pantry based. The cocoa powder adds a nice depth and the chipotle gives a warm satisfying heat. When I have avocados, I love to serve this with a simple guacamole, which adds a fresh, cool aspect to the dish. Adding tortilla chips, grated cheddar, and a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt makes this chili into a hearty and nourishing meal.
Hearty Vegetarian Chipotle Cocoa Chili
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 large red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 chipotle chili in abodo sauce (canned), minced finely
2 15.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with their juice
4 cups water
1 28 ounce can black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 28 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed well and drained
2 cups fresh/frozen or 1 drained can of sweet corn kernels
Rinse the black and kidney beans well and let them drain in a colander. Feel free to use dried beans that you’ve soaked overnight, just be sure to add extra cooking time. Open the canned tomatoes so they are ready to add later in the recipe.
Set a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium/low heat. Add about a teaspoon of olive oil and sweat the diced red onion, with a teaspoon of salt, until softened and translucent - about three minutes. Add another teaspoon of olive oil, if necessary, and sauté the minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the chipotle pepper, spices and herbs and sauté for another 15 seconds. Add the canned tomatoes and then the water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all that good flavor integrated into the chili.
Add the drained beans and black pepper and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low with the cover slightly eskew to allow the steam to escape. Stir occasionally, for about 45 minutes until reduced and thickened. Add the corn and cook for another few minutes so it warms through (I didn't have corn so you may notice that it's lacking in the photo above). Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Serve with guacamole, cilantro leaves, tortilla chips, a dollop of plain low-fat Greek yogurt, and grated cheddar cheese or queso fresco.