Whooohooo! It’s chili season!

Maybe it’s because it’s football season, but with the first hint of fall — which in Florida means day time highs and humidity levels below 90 —  I start craving a nice big bowl of chili.

We already have several chili recipes here at Idiot’s Kitchen, and I hope to have a Chili Recipe Round Up post up in the next few days, but after talking to my friend Karl who is a vegetarian, I realized that I hadn’t yet posted a veggie chili recipe.

Now, since I am not a vegetarian, I approach my vegetarian chili recipe a little differently and go all out with a variety of beans, tomatoes, corn, and peppers. I can eat meat other times, so when I eat vegetarian food, I tend to stay away from the soy and meat substitute products. However, if you want to take this recipe and add some sort of vegetable protein, be my guest.

Here’s what you need:

Pinto Beans, Black Beans, Red Kidney Beans, White Canellini Beans, Diced Tomatoes, Corn, Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper, Chipotle Pepper, Celery, Garlic, Vegetable Broth, Beer (!), Olive Oil, Chili Powder, Cumin, Salt & Pepper.

Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese for garnish (optional and not pictured).

Click here for a Vegetarian Chili Shopping List

Lots of veggies to chop….1 large onion, 2 ribs of celery, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, and 4-5 cloves of garlic. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven and saute the veggies over medium high heat until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes.

I’m using canned beans because I want 4 different kinds of beans and rarely have such a variety of dried beans on hand. The other benefit on canned beans is that they are ready to go so the cooking time is greatly reduced making this a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Use whatever beans you like. I have pinto, black, red kidney, and canellini beans. Drain the liquid off the beans and give them a quick rinse.

Add the beans to the sauteed vegetables with 2 (14 oz) cans of diced tomatoes and their juices and 1 cup of frozen corn.

Pour in 4 cups (a 32 oz box) of vegetable broth.

For lots of flavor and a little zing, I like to add chopped chipotle peppers. Chipotles are roasted jalapenos that come in a can seasoned with Adobo sauce.

Chipotles have a smoky, spicy flavor. I’m using 2 chipotles, seeds and all, because this is a pretty big pot of chili. If you’re cooking for kids or are worried about the heat, you can remove the seeds so you still get the great chipotle flavor OR use only 1 chipotle chili.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like food that is so spicy that it burns your face. I like things that are spicy with flavor rather than just hot hot hot. To me chipotles are HIGH on the flavor scale and moderate on the heat scale.

Chop up 1-2 chipotles and add them to the pot.

If you have leftover chipotles, put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer and they will keep practically forever.

Add 1 Tablespoon of chili powder, 1 Tablespoon cumin, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer.

Because the beans are already cooked, you could cook this as little as 20-30 minutes or as long as a couple of hours. For hearty soups and stews, I tend to think that the longer they cook, the better the flavor becomes. That’s why soups, stews, and sauces are often so much better leftover the next day. I cooked my chili for a little over an hour.

When your chili has cooked enough so that all of the vegetables are tender and the flavors have blended, add the secret ingredient, 1 bottle of beer. This is an idea that I shamelessly stole from Karl. I’m using a nice seasonal  brown ale but any kind of good, flavorful beer sould do the trick.

You don’t want to boil all the flavor away from the beer so be sure to add it at the end of the cooking time, stir it in and allow it just to reheat.

This is a big bowl of flavors but also, for chili, pretty light and healthy. I served mine with a nice warm piece of Beer Cheese Bread and topped with a little grated cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Chili and Football. I wonder if Aaron Rodgers has dinner plans….

Here’s the recipe:

Vegetarian Chili

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