FALSE ALARM VEGETARIAN CHILI
Joe Bonanno made this recipe popular as a Firehouse dish. When it comes to chili powders, have a couple on hand, and as you experiment with this recipe, you can choose the powder that suits your taste for heat. Leaving the pot uncovered while your chili simmers will make it thicker and less wattery.
Serves 10 (so freeze the remainder of it for a mid-week microwave dinner, or take the leftovers to a friend's potluck, or take the leftovers to a soup kitchen)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large carrot, chopped medium
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, or 1/4 cup drained canned chopped green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound dried lentils, rinsed
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 stewed (28-ounce) tomatoes
1/3 cup chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional: shredded cheddar cheese, lime wedge, cornbread to serve.Directions
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, green and red peppers, carrot, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in 7 cups water, lentils, tomato paste, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Stir to blend, adding stewed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and crushed red-pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. If the chili starts to dry out, add hot water as needed. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Serve with cornbread, shredded cheddar cheese, and a wedge of lime. . . yummy!