Vegetarian Chili

by Millie Bentley

Greetings. Cooler temps calls for some heavy-duty soup but it looks like this week is going to be warm. The forecast is calling for 70 degree weather in Bethel! But when that cooler weather comes, here’s a good vegetarian chili recipe my family liked. It is easy, good made ahead or left over.

Vegetarian Chili

2 cups (1 pound) small dried white (navy) beans

1 large onion, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 bulb garlic (10 to 15 cloves), minced

1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 rounded tablespoon cumin (ground)

3 small red chilis, dried, seeded

1 can tomato pasta (6 ounces)

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (2 large)

2 quarts water or vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup minced parsley (flat leaf if available)

2 teaspoons salt

Cilantro sprigs, chopped (about 12)

Balsamic vinegar, optional

Pick over beans, rinse and soak overnight in about three quarts of water. When ready to use, drain and rinse. If you forgot to soak overnight, clean beans, place in a pot with three quarts water, bring to boil; turn off heat and cover for at least one hour, then drain and set aside.

Place a large soup pot over medium heat; add olive oil and sauté onions until limp, six to eight minutes. Add garlic, paprika, black pepper, cumin and dried chilis. Cook and stir two minutes. Add tomato paste; cook and stir another two minutes (mixture will begin to thicken).

Add tomatoes and 1 cup water; stir and bring to a boil, add drained beans, six cups water, bay leaves, cayenne and half the parsley. Lower heat, cover and simmer until the beans are done, about two hours depending on how old the beans are.

When ready to serve, remove the three dried chilis and two bay leaves. Stir in cilantro and remaining parsley. Serve (to about six people) hot with vinegar on the side to splash into the hot chili.

Oh yes, the extra cup of water was to add to the chili if it thickened too much. Notice that I omitted salt. If the vinegar doesn’t do it up right for you, add a tad of salt. Can be served with salad and hot pita bread for a light dinner.

Until next time, amigos, vaya con Dios.