This Saturday, my wife and I had the pleasure of spending the evening with Paul (of Locussolus and this site) and his wife. We wanted to make it a casual evening of cards and beer so we hit upon a simple chili recipe.
We had three vegetarians in the group so the chili would have to be meatless. We wanted to play cards most of the night so it couldn't take forever to make. Paul suggested a list of ingredients for the chili base. We had many of the ingredients in our pantry, so we dropped them in a shopping bag and headed out to their place.
We undercooked the zucchini a bit, but if you gave it more time, it would make a great addition. We also started with too little onion, but Paul sauteed another and added it to the pot which helped a great deal. The bulgur wheat trick comes from a Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes cookbook my wife has had for years and makes the chili hearty and textured.
Vegetarian Chili for Card Night
1/2 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
4 zucchini trimmed and quartered lengthwise, cut into 1-2" wide wedges
2 onions diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 diced jalapeno peppers, seeds and membranes removed (or not, if you lke hot)
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and halved
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1 12 oz. can tomato juice
2 20 oz. cans diced tomatoes - we used Organic, one fire roasted, one plain
1 12 oz. can pinto beans, drained
1 12 oz. can red kidney beans in chili sauce
1 12 oz. can black beans, drained
1 12 oz. can garbanzos, drained
chili powder/cayenne pepper to taste (1-3 tablespoons depending on how much heat you like)
Salt and pepper to taste (lots of salt)
Shredded Queso Anejo cheese
chopped fresh tomatoes
Start with a big stockpot. We're making chile for an army or for lots of leftovers with this recipe.
Sautee the onions and garlic and jalapeno in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Add the tomatoes and all the beans and stir together.
In a small saucepan, heat the tomato juice until just simmering. Stir in bulgur, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for about 10 minutes. The bulgur will absorb the tomato juice and plump up, filling the saucepan.
Meanwhile, stir the butternut squash and mushrooms into the chile.
Once bulgur is ready, introduce it to the chile and stir. Add zucchini at the time as well.
After five minutes, taste and add salt, pepper, and chili powder/cayenne to taste. There's a lot of chile there, so it may take more than you expect, but go slowly. It's always easier to add than to subtract.
Stir the chili frequently so the bottom doesn't burn.
Simmer for 10-20 minutes. Test the butternut squash and zucchini for done-ness. When they both are at a texture you enjoy, serve and top with any of the listed toppings. I particularly recommend the Queso Anejo.
Enoy with a cold beer. Serves eight to ten. Beware of filling up because this is one of those meals that expands in your stomach (thanks to the beans and bulgur).