When I was a young chef, I’d set up an outdoor kitchen in a local downtown park and compete in the annual “Chili Cook Off.” Tables lined the snow frosted sidewalks as 30 Chefs competed for the honour of wearing the crown jewel for the “Best Chili in CNY”. Mother Nature made the event even more challenging as the vegetables froze to our knives while we chopped away. Although vegetable chili was never considered worthy of the grand prize, those who sampled my chili, raved about it. My delicious Superbowl Chili was also entered as one of 30 original recipes when I was a contestant on the “The Next Top Food Network Star.”
Meat Enthusiast’s can add some ground chuck when sauteing the onions.
Red Hot Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
4 T. olive oil
1 lg onion cut diced.
2 medium zucchini cut in ½” cubes
1 butternut squash cut in ½” cubes and blanched
2 sweet potatoes cut in ½” cubes and blanched till medium hard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red peppers, ¼ ” diced
3 cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 T. chili powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. basil
1 T. black pepper
Salt to taste
1 T. fennel seeds
3 T. chopped parsley
2 c. cooked black beans
2 T. chopped fresh dill
2 T. fresh lemon juice
Heat half of oil in large pot. Add zucchini, sauté until tender and remove.
Add remaining oil. Add onions, garlic, and red peppers. Cook until tender, about ten minutes. Add tomatoes and spices (except dill). Add squash and potatoes. Cook uncovered at medium heat for 30-45 minutes.
Add black beans, fresh dill, zucchini and lemon juice.
Taste for seasoning and adjust.
Other hearty vegetables can be added to this pot.