I always try to stay neutral with my favorite season because I think they all bring something important to the table and each have equally enjoyable aspects, you know? BUT I have to say… there really is something special about the fall. I try to play it cool every year, as if I’m not that obnoxious girl that is giddy with the anticipation of cooler temperatures and a change of wardrobe. Nevertheless, I’m the giddy girl. I can’t even deny it. I love getting out my sweaters, my jackets, and my boots. I take pictures of leaves. I buy most any pumpkin-flavored product they put on the market. I eat candy corn. You know the drill.
The arrival of autumn signals the arrival of the time for all things cozy – mulled wine-scented candles, bonfires, apple cider, and best of all, chili!
Chili is definitely a “cozy enhancer,” shall we say. It goes well with football games, card games, movie nights, etc. My mother has developed an amazing vegetarian/vegan chili over the past couple of years. She’s pretty much got it down perfectly!
Chili is also a great way to use beans, which are wonderful things! Eric and I always keep cans of black, red, and garbanzo beans in our cabinet because they always make for a quick and hearty meal. If you happen to have the time to make a fresh pot of beans, that’s also wonderful! It just takes a little time.
Beans of any sort:
Soak beans overnight in large bowl of water.
Rinse several times and then put beans in large pot and fill/cover with water (about ½ inch over the beans)
On medium heat, slowly (I mean, slowly) bring beans to a boil.
– I emphasize slowly because beans boil over easily and make the stinky-est mess ever! You don’t want to have to deal with that on your stovetop, so just be patient.
– A layer of foam will form on top of the water. If you want to be sure to avoid it boiling over, take a spoon and scrape this foam off and dispose of it.
Once the beans have reached a boil, turn them down to low heat and cover. Let them cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
Add 1 – 2 tsps of salt when finished.
If you have the time to do this / if you remember to soak your beans the night before, fresh beans are delicious! In the chili I made today, I made the red beans fresh this morning. The black beans and garbanzos I use are from cans. Canned beans will always work equally well for any bean purpose! Especially for chili :)
Mom’s Best Vegetarian Chili (from the kitchen of Sally Bennett)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp basil or oregano
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp cumin
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1 quart of vegetable broth or broth from beans (I prefer broth from beans – so much easier! And don’t sweat trying to figure out whether it’s exactly 1 quart or not. As long as you add all of the liquid from the cans or broth from cooked beans, there will be plenty of liquid!)
2 cups (1 15-oz. can) cooked small red beans
2 cups (1 15-oz. can) cooked garbanzo beans
2 cups (1 15-oz. can) cooked black beans
2 zucchini squash, chopped or shredded
Saute onion, carrots, and red pepper in olive oil.
Add garlic and cook veggies until soft.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, broth, and beans.
Simmer for 30-45 minutes (until flavors are blended)
(Please pardon our horribly dirty stovetop)
Add chopped zucchini and stir.
Excellent served with cornbread.
Delicious with lots of freshly-squeezed lime juice on top.
Have a cozy evening, folks!