Friday, August 20, 2010

Hearty Veggie Chili

Holy allergy season batman. Please raise your hands if you've been suffering the worst allergy symptoms of your entire life. (Raising both hands and waving them spastically in the air.) To say the least, I felt awful on Tuesday. So much that I think I'm actually starting to pray for Winter. Anything to kill off all the pollen producing plants populating my province. (Oh no, I think the pollen just made it's way into my brain!)

When I start thinking of winter, the first thing I think of are soups. Warm, hearty delightful soups. They just scream fuzzy comfort food to me. So, in my allergy induced misery on Tuesday I had to make soup. Anything to make life feel more winter-like. Forgetting, of course, that's it's almost 90 degrees outside.

This is actually the perfect late summer chili. It uses a ton of vegetables that are in season right now. And for an entirely vegan soup, it's really hearty and filling. When we first tried this a few months ago, at the beginning of our semi-vegetarian experiment, John was really skeptical. He didn't think soup, especially chili, could be good without a good amount of fat. But oh is it ever good.

Make this for dinner. It will drive away the allergy blues. Super delicious!

Vegetarian Chili
Adapted From Emeril Lagasse 

2 tbsp olive oil
2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 seranno peppers, chopped and with the seeds and membranes scooped out
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 1/2 lbs baby portobello mushrooms, cubed
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
4 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 cups cooked black beans or 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in cilantro. Serve with warm cornbread on the side.


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