Besides, I was on site, too, trying not to act like I was flinching every time someone came near my hyped-up-little-blond-11-year-old who had looked forward to this all year. Sigh.
Was I hiding in the bushes? No. I was legit. I was the meal coordinator this year, serving up chili to all the filthy, exhausted and inexplicably joyful participants after the event. We had many parents offering batches of chili that were combined into giant roaster pots, but I personally provided the vegan option. Thick, spicy, and full of good stuff, my Smoky Vegan Two-Bean Chili was a hit with meat-eaters, too.
When I serve it at home, I tend to garnish with bacon, which undoes the vegan angle, but boy, it’s good.
Smoky Vegan Two-Bean Chili
Note: To make this gluten-free, as well, use a gluten-free beer, or substitute beef stock for the beer.
1 T. vegetable or canola oil
2 large onions, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed and diced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
4 chipotles in adobo, chopped, with a little of their liquid
1 T. ground cumin
2 T. chili powder, divided
1 bottle of beer
2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles (15 oz. each)
2 cans of black beans (or 4 c. of cooked black beans), drained and rinsed
1 can of dark red kidney beans (or 2 c. of cooked kidney beans), with their liquid
1 T. dried oregano
1 t. salt, plus a pinch of salt
Optional garnish: avocado cubes, hot sauce, salsa, fresh cilantro leaves, cornbread, vegan sour cream (or regular if vegan is not your concern).
In a large stockpot over medium heat, warm the oil until it is shimmery, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the onions and bell peppers and a pinch of salt. Stir, cooking frequently, until the onions are fragrant and the onions and bell peppers are crisp tender. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Sprinkle the cumin and chili powder over the onions and bell peppers, stir it in and raise the heat to medium high. Cook for one minute, stirring, or until the spices are fragrant. Add the additional tablespoon of chili powder, beer, diced tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans with their liquid, oregano, and teaspoon of salt. Stir together and bring to a simmer.
Simmer, stirring frequently, for at least 15 minutes. If the liquid starts to evaporate too quickly before that time is up, add a little water to loosen it back up. Serve with any of the optional garnish.