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Author Notes: Most of my favorite foods and flavors come from middle east region. I absolutely love the spices and the combination of flavors. I came up with the version when I was introduced to the best Harissa I have ever tasted and I kept looking for various ways to incorporate it into my dishes. This chili is a perfect dish to really show off how wonderful middle-eastern flavors can be easily incorporated into dishes that are not traditionally from that region of the world.
Depending on the heat level of your particular brand of Harissa, you may want to go more lightly with this ingredient in the recipe, as you can always add more when you serve the dish.
This vegetarian version is endlessly adaptable so feel free to add whatever you want.
I adapted this recipe from Jamie Oliver's recipe on his FoodTube called "One Pot Chili" —Dana
- 2 tablespoons oil (recommend olive or canola)
- 2 bell peppers (any color), chopped chunky
- 2 red onions, peeled, chopped chunky
- 2 carrots, scrubbed or peeled chopped chunky
- 2 chili peppers, minced (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Moroccan or smoked paprika
- 1-2 tablespoons Harissa (your favorite brand)
- 1/2 cup Cilantro stalks, cut smallish
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
- 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cans chickpeas (or any other kind, a variety is really nice)
- Water or broth
- splashes lemon juice or vinegar (balsamic works great!)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably greek
- Make the sofrito: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Add the peppers, onions, carrots andchili peppers (if using). Season with salt and and sweat the vegetables for 10-15 minutes. If the vegetables are taking on too much color, reduce the heat.
- Add the spices: With a spoon, create a empty hole in the middle of the vegetable mixture. Add the garlic and allow to cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant (be careful not to burn the garlic - it will make your chili bitter). Add the cumin, paprika, Harissa, cilantro stalks, mint and oregano. Stir the spices into the vegetables so that all the ingredients are well incorporated. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes minutes to cook the spices and to caramelize the vegetables. This step is really important to build flavor and to add complexity to the final dish.
- Add the rest of the main ingredients: Add the tomatoes, beans and water or broth to cover by 1/2-inch. Season with salt. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower the heat so that the chili is at a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for an hour. If the chili looks to dry, add additional water or broth. After the hour, shut of the heat and add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed (I find that I need a bit more salt).
- Serve immediately, or cool completely and refrigerate. Just like most chilis or stews, the flavors deepen and taste better the next day. But don't worry - this is wonderful on the day of!
- When serving, top with anything you like including cilantro leaves, avocado, salsa, sour cream, cheese, etc…. Some couscous or quinoa goes really well with this too.