Vegetarian White Bean Chili

Yield: Serves 4-6

This hearty, flavor-packed vegetarian chili is sure to please everyone around your table—even the most adamant beef-and-bean traditionalists. Pureeing a portion of the soup once the beans have been added adds richness and body to the broth, while charring the tomatillos delivers bold, smoky flavor. 

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2onion, finely chopped (about a cup)
  • 1poblano pepper, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 5cloves of garlic, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 8 ounces fresh tomatillos
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 6 cups water
  • 2(15.5-ounce) cans cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups corn, from the cob or frozen
  • Chopped cilantro, fresh avocado, sliced radishes, cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeños, lime wedges and hot sauce, for topping

How to Make It

Step 1

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and poblano pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, then add garlic and 1/2 tsp of the salt and continue cooking until onions, peppers, and garlic are very tender, about 10 more minutes. If they begin to brown, reduce heat slightly.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over high until it begins to smoke. Place tomatillos in the skillet and cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes, or until they begin to blacken. Continue cooking, rotating every minute or so, until tomatillos feel like water balloons when gently squeezed (with tongs), and are beginning to burst. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Step 3

Add cumin, cayenne, and sweet smoked paprika to the onion mixture, and cook another minute. Add apple cider vinegar and cook, stirring, until the liquid is evaporated, then stir in 6 cups of water and remaining 2 tablespoons of the salt and the blended tomatillos. Bring to a boil over high heat, then add beans.

Step 4

Cook for 10 minutes, until beans are very tender, then ladle about 1/3 of the soup into the blender and puree until smooth; return the pureed soup to the pot. Add corn and bring to a boil and cook another 10 minutes, until soup thickens slightly. Adjust seasonings to taste. Divide among bowls and serve with toppings.

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