Sunday, March 18, 2012

Vegan Peanut Chili with Charred Corn and Avocado Salsa

This chili gets depth from a multitude of sources: smoky chipotle chili powder, soy sauce, and espresso. The texture, which so many vegetarian chilis lack, comes from chopped peanuts. This also adds a nice touch of protein to the dish. I got the idea for this chili while Andrew Adams and I were brainstorming ideas for the Farmer Mixer. I wanted to do a kim chi dumpling, and he thought it'd be cool to use peanuts as the protein like they do in a soup at The Brushmark. It was a perfect marriage.

The Charred Corn and Avocado Salsa is the perfect thing to cool you down as you chow on this spicy chili. Try it on its own for a quick appetizer at a party, or add fresh, chopped jalapeño to give the salsa a little kick.

Peanut Chili

1 cup dry pinto beans (soaked overnight in 3 cups water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced onion

5 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup white wine or beer

1 1/2 cups diced  green peppers
1 tablespoon soy sauce (like Bragg's)
1/4 cup espresso (or strong coffee)
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
2 cups chopped tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock (like Imagine No-Chicken)
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
prepared white or brown rice (to serve)

Charred Corn and Avocado Salsa (to garnish)

In a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium-high heat add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for five minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the ancho chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and chipotle chili powder. Stir to incorporate the spices then deglaze the pot with the wine or beer. Allow the mixture to reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the green peppers, soy sauce, espresso, worcestershire, peanuts, tomatoes, vegetable stock, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, and pinto beans to the mix. Stir and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow chili to cook for an hour and a half or until beans are tender. 
To serve add 1/2 cup of rice to a bowl followed by a ladleful of the Peanut Chili. Top with 1/2 cup Charred corn and Avocado Salsa.

Charred Corn and Avocado Salsa

2 ears corn
2 cups diced avocado (about 2 medium)
juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 green onions (thinly sliced)
1 teaspoon olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

Over a high flame on your outdoor grill car the ears of con until lightly blackened. This will take four minutes per side. Cut the corn away from the cob using a sharp knife and plenty of caution. In a medium bowl combine the corn, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, green onion, olive oil. Add sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to serve.