We had a bunch of friends over on Sunday night for chili and corn muffins. I couldn't decide whether I should make my famous chipotle-chocolate chili or to try something new and make my own version of a white chili spiced with cumin. I finally decided...I would make both. I was a one-man chili cook-off on a mission to make both versions spicy and delicious. The contrasts were interesting. The chipotle chili was dark and smoky with just a hint of chocolate while the white chili was fresh and bright because of the addition of fresh hot peppers and tomatillos.
I took an informal poll at the end of the night, and there was no clear winner. Everyone seemed to love both recipes as they both delivered on the chili promise: a hearty, spicy, belly-full of goodness. Some people put them both in the same bowl as I did, and others had a bowl of white followed by a bowl of chipotle and then another bowl of white. I love to see people go back for seconds at my house, so I'm elated to see some going for thirds.
Here are both recipes so you can decide for yourself:
Chipotle + Chocolate Chili:
4 1/2 cups prepared beans ( mix: pinto, black, red kidney)
2 medium onions (diced)
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
2 "Not-beef" bouillon cubes
1/2 a beer
2 bell peppers (red, green, orange: diced)
1 large can fire-roasted tomatoes
3 chipotle peppers (from a can)
2 dried pasilla peppers (stems removed)
6 cloves garlic
1 box white wave chicken style seitan (drained)
1 small can of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 square of dark chocolate
1 pat of butter
salt & pepper
In a large soup pot or dutch oven sauté onions with a few tablespoons of olive oil, ancho chili powder, and bouillon cubes until onions start to brown. Add the bell peppers and deglaze pot with beer. Allow most of the beer to evaporate. Pulse seitan in the food processor until finely chopped (like ground beef), and add it to the pot. Into the food processor place the large can of tomatoes, chipotle, pasilla, and garlic, and blend until almost smooth. Pour mixture over the onions and peppers, add the beans, small can of tomatoes, the chocolate, and the butter. Add enough water to cover. Simmer for at least one hour. The longer it cooks, the better it gets. Add salt and pepper to taste.
White Chili w/ Tomatillos + Mushrooms
2 cups prepared cannellini beans
2 cups prepared flageolet beans
1 large white onion (diced)
2 shallots (diced)
2 tablespoons cumin
2 "Not-chick'n" bouillon cubes
1/2 cup white wine
2 yellow bell peppers (diced)
6-8 tomatillos (peeled and washed)
20 oz white button mushrooms
2 jalapeno peppers (stem removed)
1 serrano pepper (stem removed)
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
salt and pepper
Pulse mushrooms in the food processor until finely chopped, toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil, roast in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Set aside. In a large soup pot or dutch oven sauté onion and shallot with olive oil, cumin and bouillon cubes. Once the onion is translucent, add the peppers and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Pulse tomatillos and hot peppers in the food processor until finely chopped. Add mixture to the pot along with the beans and mushrooms. Add enough water to cover and simmer for one hour. Whisk chickpea flour with some of the broth and add it all back to the pot. Cook for another 10 minutes. (This will thicken the chili.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
In addition to the chili, I made a buffet of toppings consisting of white cheddar, aged cotija, cilantro, green onions, sour cream, guacamole, and fresh lime wedges. I also made a huge pot of rice and got out every hot sauce I own (which is a lot of hot sauce). At the last minute, The Wife had me chop apples for a crumble, and she made the crunchy topping for it. It was the perfect dinner party for a cold and drizzly Sunday night.