Here's the future.
In approximately two.point.five days you are going to lose all sense of time, space, and self amidst a mayhem of cookie production/consumption, various shades of red and green ribbons, and a deep and intensely disconcerting preoccupation with channeling your inner gift wrapping goddess. (Because seriously, you are so anal retentive about so many things in life that she must be in there somewhere...no matter what your total inability to get a perfect edge may lead you to believe.)
And in those rare moments that you come to long enough to realize that anyone who loves you will not care that your wrapped presents look like a three year old's art project (they're abstract, okay)...you'll probably want something to stuff your face with. Of the hearty and delicious variety.
When that happens, you can thank me for having the foresight to twist your arm into getting this chili on your stove and into your fridge. No, really...you're welcome.
Not only is it richly seasoned with some of the most warming spices in town, but it's also chock full of chocolate and peanut butter (which, let's be honest, you were totally going to stress eat anyway), as well as totally good-for-you ingredients like two types of peppers, tomatoes, and black beans. And while eating it on its own is probably not going to turn you into a gift wrap superstar...it will give you the strength to forge ahead in all of your holiday endeavors. That has to count for something, right?
This chili, with all of it's real food ingredients, was inspired by a recent trip I made to Panera Bread, which is another great option if you're pressed for time with the holiday rush and find yourself struggling to get a good meal on the table. The folks at Panera subscribe to the "Good Goes In" philosophy, which means all of their foods are made with fresh, thoughtfully sourced ingredients. I had their vegetarian creamy tomato soup while I was there...and it actually tasted like summer tomatoes, which was awesome. In fact, all of their soup varieties sound fabulous, from the low-fat vegetarian garden vegetable with pesto to the broccoli cheese...I know I'll be back for more!
Serves 8-10, adapted from Bean by Bean
- 1 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight
- 12 oz Guinness
- 1 quarts vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed
- 1 tbsp ancho chili powder
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp aniseed
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 oz chocolate, diced
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo with 2 tsp adobo sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Drain the soaked black beans. Place them in a large heavy pot and add the broth and beer. Add enough water to cover them by about 1 1/2 inches. Add the bay leaves, jalapeno, ancho chili powder, a ton of freshly ground black pepper, and raisins. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, about 20 minutes or so before the beans are done, add olive oil to a large heavy skillet. Heat over medium and add the onions. Saute until they start to soften - 3-4 minutes. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno and poblano. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cumin, coriander, oregano, aniseed, cinnamon, paprika, and chipotle chili powder. Saute for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until it becomes fragrant.
- Scrape the saute into the simmering beans.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste to the bean pot and stir well. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Place the chocolate, peanut butter, tahini and chipotle in adobo in a food processor. Add a cup of the simmering beans and pulse to make a thick paste. Scrape this into the bean pot. Turn the heat down as low as possible. Add salt to taste. Simmer slowly, partially covered, for about 20 minutes more.
- Just before serving pick out the bay leaves and jalapeno. Taste for seasoning, adding some maple syrup for sweetness if desired.
As part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, I received a stipend to try Panera Bread soups. All thoughts and opinions are my own.