Friday, March 14, 2014

Vegan Chili with Winter Squash and Wild Mushrooms

Who doesn't fancy a bowl of delicious, hot soup during the winter/fall months? I know I do. Spring is literally right around the corner, regardless if the weather wants to believe it or not, but I couldn't pass up sharing this recipe with you guys.

While I was reading the local newspaper I stumbled across this recipe and couldn't help myself. I had to make this soup. It just sounded way to good to pass up.

It takes a bit of time to make considering you have lots of chopping you have to do, but it's well worth the time and the strain on your fingers.

This is probably the best chili I've ever had. I mean, this chili could win competitions, people.

Yeah, it's that good.

  • 3/4 ounce(approx. 5-6) dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms.
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil.
  • 3/4 cup(approx. 1 medium) diced white onion.
  • 3/4 cup(approx. 1) diced green pepper.
  • 3/4 cup(approx. 1) diced red pepper.
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 5 tablespoons of chili powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • 1 1/4 pound(approx. 1 medium-size) butternut squash, peeled and diced 3/4inch.
  • 1 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 each of 15-once can of black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
  • salt, as need/desired.
  • sugar, as needed/desired.
  1. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Once softened, remove from the water and dice finely. Set aside the soaking liquid.
  2. Heat half of the olive oil in a 6-quart sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers, and sauté until onions are translucent and just beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and continue to cook over moderate heat until garlic is aromatic, about 6 minutes more. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté on high heat until they begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes.
  5. Make a well in the center of the pan, add chili powder and cumin, and sauté briefly until aromatic and the spices mix with the oils-do not allow it to blacken or burn!
  6. Add the tomato paste and cook over moderate heat until it caramelizes slightly, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes. Add reserved mushroom liquid and additional water if needed. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes, assorted beans and the reserved onion, garlic and pepper mixture.
  9. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender, occasionally skimming and discarding any foam that rises to the surface.
  10. Watch the consistency of the chili, and if it gets dry and threatens to scorch, you can add extra water by the 1/4 cup. If, on the other hand, the chili is too liquidly, cooking over a higher heat briefly will reduce some of the excess liquid.
  11. Season the chili to taste with however much salt you'd prefer. If the flavor is at all bitter, adjust with a pinch of sugar.
I personally did not garnish my chili but I know some people like to, so I figured I'd give some optional garnishing ideas.

Totally optional: Garnish with vegan shredded cheese(flavor of your choice), scallions and fresh cilantro.

 If your not vegan, you may choose to garnish the chili with shredded jack cheese, sour cream, sliced scallions and chopped cilantro.

If your preparing in advance, or have leftovers, allow the chili to cool in a shallow pan, then store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to one month. To serve, reheat the chili, adding additional water as needed.

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