Fall is my favorite time of year, it's filled with memories and nostalgia about halloween costumes, holiday dinners and family. Although I'm not sure it is officially autumn yet, I recently cooked up one of my family's favorite fall-ish meals. Baked potatoes and chili usually have a pretty bad rap in the world of calories and saturated fat, but this vegetarian version is the exception. It is a comfort food you can indulge in freely!
This recipe makes enough to feed five, with plenty left over to either freeze for another time or serve the next day (maybe over tortilla chips).
I have a favorite way of cooking baked potatoes that I learned from my friend Jake, who is a wonderful chef. Instead of microwaving them (ew!) or wrapping in foil, simply puncture the potatoes a few times with a fork, rub in olive oil and salt and cook at 400 degrees for an hour, turning once half way through. They come out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside! Perfect!
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large anaheim chili pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 pound of dried beans (your choice, I used 1/2 red beans, 1/2 pink beans)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
fresh corn, removed from cob (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups veggie broth (or water)
your choice of:
When making chili I always use dried beans. They are cheaper than canned (about $2.20 for a pound) and don't contain all the salt of canned beans. If you use red, pink or pinto beans they don't need overnight soaking but be sure to start them about 2.5-3 hours before you want dinner to be ready.
Rinse them and put them in a pot with lots of water (about 3x the amount of beans) bring to a boil and then remove from heat, cover and let sit for an hour. After an hour, rinse them, put in your veggie broth and can of diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Let them simmer for about 20 minutes while we work on the other steps.
Chop your veggies, saute onion, garlic and pepper until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add in a generous palmful each of chili, cumin and garlic salt. I always use more spice than I think I need, and it always comes out perfect. Adding the spices at this step will help release the flavor better than if you add it to the water.
Saute the spices/veggies for another 2 minutes or so, then add this to your simmering pot of beans. Cover and cook for about an hour, then check your beans. If they feel about 1/2 way cooked, remove the cover and let the pot simmer (to allow some of the water to cook off.)
Some people like their chili runny, others thick, the difference here will be on keeping the pot covered or uncovered. If the chili gets thick and your beans aren't quite done, you can cover them or add more water. If you are deciding to add corn to your chili (I love this, it adds color! But I didn't do it this time) you will want to add it only about 20 minutes (if raw) before the chili is done. Corn doesn't need much time to cook.When your chili is done, top your baked potato with a generous helping of chili and add on your favorite toppings!