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Just before Superbowl Sunday rolls around, I always make a big pot of vegetarian chili for my husband and me and whomever else maybe joining us. It is the perfect dish to make ahead of time, and then reheat when needed. We make a habit of skiing Superbowl Sunday because the slopes are usually empty, especially when the Broncos are playing, as they will be this year.

We hit the mountain early, ski hard, and then arrive home just as the game begins. A cold beer, a hot bowl of chili, fireplace roaring and we are set! Game on!


Rocky Mountain Chili
Recipe type: Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Vegan
Serves: 6 - 1½ cup servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small to medium size onion (approx. 1 cup), chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper (approx. 1 cup), seeded and chopped
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 6 fresh mushrooms (about 4 ounces), halved and sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced small
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (regular canned tomatoes are fine, too)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley or whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 (27ounce) cans black beans, red beans or a mixture of the two, drained and rinsed (or approx. 2½ cups dried beans - see notes below)
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ - ½ cup red wine
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, red pepper, jalapeno, mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add cumin and chili powder, carrots, tomatoes, beans, bay leaves, paprika, brown sugar, wine, water and salt.
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or more.
  5. Once all of the ingredients are cooked and soft, remove 1½ cups of the chili and mash it with a potato masher or an inversion blender until it is a thick paste.
  6. Return the mash to the pot and stir.
  7. Season with salt to taste.
  8. Garnish with sour cream, grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, scallions and cilantro.
If you are using dried beans, you will need a lot more water. After you add the beans to the sautéed vegetables, add enough water to cover the beans and check on them every 20-30 minutes or so to see if you need to add water. You will also need to cook the chili for much longer - probably, a couple of hours or so until the beans are tender. I make this recipe all the time with dried beans and it comes out wonderful, maybe even a little more flavorful.

This recipe gets better after sitting for a day so if you have time to make it a couple of days before you need it, you will get the most flavor out of the ingredients. This dish also freezes very well in an air-tight container.



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