Make Ahead

Ian's Vegan Chili

November 20, 2017
0 Ratings
  • Prep time 50 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

I've been cooking this recipe for years. I've based it on some recipes for Costa Rican black beens I'd been screwing around with since visiting. There, they add what looks like an obscene amount of garlic, and let it simmer with the beans until it's lost its bite and mellowed into something warmer and deeper that pervades the entirety of the dish.

The guacamole is a recipe I learned from an friend's mother, who'd long-since despaired of either of her girls ever taking an interest in cooking. It's genius in its simplicity, but it takes some screwing with the ratios to get it right.

The brown sugar serves dual roles here: it both balances out the heat, and maintains the calcium structure of the beans (according to Harold McGee, anyway!). Use a light hand with it!

While making the chili as-is keeps it vegan (depending on your vegan friends' notion on brown sugar), I like to top it with a little sharp cheddar, along with the necessary fat spoonful of guacamole.

Serve with warmed tortillas, guacamole, sour cream (vegan, if ya like), scallions, cheddar cheese, whatever. I like to serve mine over Mexican-style brown rice.

DISCLAIMER: everything here is very much guess-and check. —Ian

What You'll Need
  • Chili
  • 1 pound dried black beans, sifted through, and soaked overnight
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups yellow or white onions, roughly chopped
  • 6-8 serrano peppers, de-seeded and minced
  • 7-8 jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2-4 heads garlic, minced
  • chili powder, to taste (go big)
  • .5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 packet soyrizo, or any vegan chorizo
  • 1 pinch brown sugar
  • 64-128 ounces beer, Tecate or Pabst Blue Ribbon work best
  • salt to taste
  • Didi's Guacamole
  • 2 large Haas avocado
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 large limes
  • 2-3 serranos, minced
  • salt
  1. Chili
  2. Cook the black beans with two bay leaves, salt, and a few whole cloves of garlic, as per the instructions on the bag, and set them aside, along with half a cup of their cooking water.
  3. At a low heat, gently caramelize the onions. This always takes longer than expected-- 20min.
  4. When the onions are a rich caramel color, raise the heat to medium, and add the carrots, celery, and jalapenos.
  5. Once everything's softened, add the remaining garlic, the serrano chilis, and the chili powder. Gently cook for another thirty seconds to a minute.
  6. Dump in the beans, reserved cooking water, cumin, brown sugar, and as much beer as it takes to cover everything by a knuckle or two, then bring to a VERY low simmer.
  7. Let the excess liquid cook down, then keep feeding it beer, maintaining roughly the consistency you're looking for in a chili until done. 1-2-3hrs.
  8. While this everything is bubbling, brown the soyrizo, and add it to the pan. 3-4mins
  1. Didi's Guacamole
  2. Juice all the limes into a bowl large enough to hold everything. It'll look like too much, because it is.
  3. Halve and pit the avocados, chucking the whole flesh into lime juice as you go, and making certain they're coated. This prevents browning.
  4. Strain out the lime juice into another bowl. Reserve.
  5. Add all other ingredients to the bowl, and gently mash until fairly chunky.
  6. Gently fold in lime and salt to taste.
  7. Lay down Clingwrap directly on the surface of the guacamole, to prevent browning, and refrigerate for twenty minutes or so.

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