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Author Notes: Having grown up in California, I don't know much about Southern food. My idea of Southern comfort is a big bowl of chili and a slice of hearty cornbread. I love the process of making chili - it is not so much about the precise recipe but the rhythm of stirring and simmering and tasting and adding in ingredients as you see fit, so there is a lot of room for variation in this recipe. Use whatever beans you have on hand. If you want it spicier, add more chili powder or a chopped habanero pepper. If you want it sweeter, add some more molasses. Try it with more or less cocoa powder. Taste as you go. I like my chili smoky with a deep rich flavor. This chili is just that - pleasantly spicy but also sweet. Since this chili has no meat, it relies on a variety of spices for flavor, and the combination of cocoa, chipotle, and garam masala spice is what makes this chili stand out. Next time I make this, I am going to add 2 tablespoons of almond butter or peanut butter to give it a richer taste. —nataleiigh
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 pieces garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes (1 can)
- 6 ounces tomato paste (1 can)
- 30 ounces water (equivalent to 2 cans of water)
- 45 ounces canned beans (equivalent of 3 cans) - pinto, kidney, black beans, etc.
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ground pepper (to taste)
- In a large pot, heat oil.
- Add garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes until brown. Add onions and sautee 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add bay leaves.
- Add bell peppers and carrots. Sautee 3-4 minutes, stirring as you go.
- Add all spices, molasses, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium and simmer for at least 40 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Add beans, bring to boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer for another 45 minutes to 1 hour until chili is thick. Add salt and pepper and season to taste. Serve with cornbread, sour cream, cheese, or whatever your heart desires. (Crumbling 100% cornmeal cornbread into this chili tastes amazing)
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