|Black Bean and Lentil Chili|
Many years ago, a good friend of ours had a chili cook-off party. It was a blast! We all brought our own versions of chili and blindly taste-tested (blindly, in that we didn’t know who’s was who’s…but I’m sure the margaritas had already made us somewhat blind!). It was so interesting to see the different interpretations of what we all refer to as “chili”. Some had no beans at all, just ground meat, while others had a mixture of the two and then some used chunks of beef instead of ground. The hostess had made hers with lentils. It was really delicious and it’s always stuck with me. I’ve always wanted to try making chili with lentils. So, ten years later…
I really made this with my daughter in mind (she doesn’t eat meat). This has so many flavors and ingredients that she loves. Especially the spicy factor! That girl uses hot sauce on everything! The chipotle and the Tabasco add some heat to the pot, but I like to serve this with some more Tabasco on top…along with avocado cubes, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and some cilantro. You can make a pot of rice to go along with this, some corn bread or even just some tortilla chips. I think you’ll love it! Even my anti-vegetarian husband gave this two thumbs up! So, if I’m ever invited to another chili cook off…this is what I’m bringing!
Black Bean and Lentil Chili
3 T. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 large carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 T. chili powder
1 T. paprika
1 t. chipotle chili powder
1 t. allspice
1/2 t. cumin
1 bay leaf
5 – 6 C. vegetable or chicken broth
2 C. lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1 29 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 C. frozen sweet corn kernels
12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, diced
1 – 2 t. Tabasco sauce
1 T. honey
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheddar cheese
a squeeze of lime
In a large heavy pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil, then the onion, celery and carrots. Sauté until the onions have softened, then add the garlic and continue to cook for just one minute. Add the spices next through the bay leaf. Cook for about two more minutes to get them fragrant.
Add the broth (start with 5 cups first, you may need an additional cup later to thin the sauce out), lentils and tomato sauce and raise the heat to high, bringing the broth to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 30 minutes to get the lentils tender.
Add the black beans, corn, red peppers, Tabasco and honey and continue to cook for about 20 more minutes. Add the extra cup of broth, if needed.
Serve in bowls with the toppings of your choice.