It’s disheartening to read most of the vegetarian chili recipes out there. Many of them are bean and vegetable stews with little depth of flavor. I wanted to create a vegetarian chili that is deeply flavored with real chiles, and spicy enough to make smoke come out of your ears. I think I’ve finally cracked the code with this recipe. It includes five types of chile peppers, including smoky chipotles, along with pan-charred onions and serranos, beer and a hint of chocolate – resulting in a chili that is intense, complex and spicy. And most definitely not for wimps. —cathyeats
Soak the beans overnight, in a large bowl of cold water.
Drain the beans, cover well with fresh cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.
Heat a cast-iron pan until very hot. Add the dried chiles and press down with a spatula and cook until the peppers begin to soften and are beginning to blacken, about 1 minute.
Remove the roasted chiles from pan, cut off the stems and shake out the seeds. Tear the chiles into pieces and place in a blender along with 1 cup of the beer, and puree until smooth.
Re-heat the cast-iron pan over high heat and add the onion slices and serrano peppers. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning the onions once, until they are well charred and soft. Remove the onions and chop. Cut the stems off the serranos and chop.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic, celery and bell peppers and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add the prepared onions and serranos, cumin, black pepper and oregano and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the seitan, fire-roasted green chiles, chipotle and chile puree and cook 2 minutes more.
Add the remaining beer, tomatoes, bean cooking liquid and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add cooked beans and cook 10 minutes more.
Stir in chocolate and serve, topping with sour cream and onions.