Archive for June 15th, 2012

This chili was one of the winners. All of the vegetables are grilled instead of sautéed, giving them a darkly caramelized sweetness and a hint of smoke that enriches the heartiness of the stew. We kept the spiciness on the mild side, but feel free to add ground chiles or hot sauce to your tongue’s content.

Prep: 15 minutes
Grill: 20 minutes
Simmer: 45 to 60 minutes.

– 8 wooden skewers or 16 toothpicks, soaked in water for 1 hour
– Long-handled tongs.

– For a more substantial chili, grill about 1 pound of veggie burgers until cooked through. Pulse in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add to the soup pot along with the chopped vegetables.

– To seed the tomatoes, dig out the seeds and pulp with your fingertips over a bowl.
– To seed the jalapeños, halve them lengthwise, leaving the stem attached. Hold the chile by the stem and scrape out the seeds with the small side of a melon baller.
– For a spicier chili, leave the seeds in the jalapeños and grill them whole. Remove the stems after grilling and chop the jalapeños along with the other vegetables.
– Some steak sauces, such as A1, are vegetarian. Others, like Worcestershire sauce, include anchovies but may be available in vegetarian versions.
– Freeze any leftover chili for up to 3 months. Defrost and reheat before serving.
– If you’ve added the tomato pulp and the chili is still too thick, add more broth, beer, or water.

Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (400° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

½ cup olive oil
2 large onions, each cut into 4 thick slices
1 small head garlic, unpeeled, top sliced off to reveal some garlic cloves
2 carrots, quartered lengthwise
2 bell peppers (red and/or green), seeded and quartered
2 to 4 large jalapeño chiles, halved lengthwise and seeded
3 pounds tomatoes (about 8 to 10 medium), halved crosswise and seeded, pulp and seeds reserved
6 portobello mushroom caps
Oil for coating grill grate
3 cups vegetable broth (or half broth and half beer)
3 tablespoons steak sauce (see Tips)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans or small red beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves.

1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Rub or brush about a tablespoon of the olive oil all over the onion slices, head of garlic, carrot and bell pepper quarters, jalapeño halves, tomato halves, and mushroom caps. Push the skewers or toothpicks through the sides of the onion slices to keep them from separating on the grill.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put all of the vegetables on the grill, cover, and cook, turning occasionally, until nicely grill-marked and softened, 5 to 20 minutes total. (The carrots will take 5 to 10 minutes. The onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and jalapeños will take 10 to 15 minutes; don’t worry if the peppers and tomatoes blacken in spots. The garlic will take 15 to 20 minutes and should be blackened in several places, and the garlic cloves should be soft.) If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 450°F.
4. Let the vegetables cool slightly, then pop the garlic cloves out of their skins and put them in a blender or food processor. Add half of the grilled tomatoes and blend or process to a puree. Remove the skewers or toothpicks from the onions. Chop the onions and the remaining vegetables (including the remaining grilled tomatoes) and put them in a large soup pot. Add the garlic-tomato puree, broth, steak sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thick like stew, 30 to 40 minutes. If you need to add liquid, stir in the reserved tomato pulp and seeds. Add the beans and heat through, 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and adjust the seasonings just before serving.

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