real life test kitchen: spicy vegetarian chili

It happens like clockwork. The temperature dips down below 60 degrees, a few leaves start to fall from the trees, and I suddenly start craving a big bowl of chili. I’ve been saving this recipe from Food Network Magazine to make for a few months. When our neighbors decided to have an impromptu cookout (before it gets too cold) last weekend, I knew what I was going to contribute to the feast. This veggie chili really is a standout; with both brewed coffee and unsweetened cocoa, it has a rich and complex flavor. The shredded cauliflower adds a really nice texture — almost like ground beef — that gives it a stick-to-your-bones goodness. I added in some corn, because as my husband insists, all chili tastes better with a little corn. Here’s my take on the Food Network Magazine’s Spicy Vegetarian Chili. Note: You’ll want to give yourself a couple of hours to let this simmer sufficiently.

Spicy Veggie Chili

What You Need
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large bell pepper chopped [Note: I used two red peppers, but it’d be nice to have one green and one red.]
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 to 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 corn large tortillas, torn into pieces
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes [note: I used a can of crushed tomatoes and it was fine.] crushed by hand
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 head cauliflower
1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels
Cilantro, Greek yogurt, chives, shredded cheddar — for toppings. Optional

1. Chop onion, bell peppers, and carrots. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add veggies and a dash of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, chop garlic.
2. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
3. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, tomato paste and tortillas and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is dark red, about 4 minutes.
4. Add the coffee and simmer until almost gone, about 30 seconds.
5. Stir in the tomatoes, cocoa powder, beans and 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
6. Trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. Add to chili, along with frozen corn, about 10 minutes before the chili is done. Cook 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add water if it is too thick.
7. Ladle into bowls and serve with suggested toppings!

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From our partners

Very similar to my recipe. Add tofu and call it Chili con Tofu. :)