Yield: 4 to 6 serving
Cooking time: 2 hours
1 cup black beans
1 cup kidney beans
½ cup green lentils
1 3-inch piece of Kombu
1 whole dried chipotle chiles (any hot, smokey-flavored chile can be substituted)
½ cup sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin, ground
1 teaspoon oregano
½ pound seitan
1 medium-size carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 ½ tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, strained, or more to taste
2 teaspoons sea salt or more to taste
½ cup tofu sour cream (optional)
There are lots of ways to soak and cook dried beans. Some use a pressure cooker and others use the soak and simmer method. My favorite method is to sort through the beans and lentils and discard any broken ones or stones. Rinse them in a strainer and pour into a 3-quart pot. Cover with cold water by 2-inches and soak over night.
Drain and rinse after pre-soaking. To cook the beans and lentils, place in a pot and add cold water to the pot to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim away any foam that may form and add the kombu. Lower heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes; add water when necessary, until the beans and lentils are tender.
Place the chiles in the oven and dry roast until lightly browned. Let cool, now remove the seeds from the chiles, and place in coffee bean grinder (or something similar) and grind into a powder.
Add sun-dried tomatoes in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor with enough soaking liquid to form a paste. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened.
Place the olive oil and onions in a heavy 4-quart casserole over medium heat and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add the chili-tomato paste. Grind the seitan in a food processor until it resembles coarse soil. Stir the seitan into the onion and continue to cool for 5 more minutes.
Pour the beans and enough of their cooking juice into the vegetable-seitan mixture to form a thick soupy chili.
Sauté the carrot, celery and mirin to create a caramelized effect, then add to the chili. Simmer the chili at low temperature 30 minutes to an hour, uncovered, or until all the vegetables are tender and the chili has thickened to desired consistency. When done, stir in the lemon juice and season to taste. Continue to cook 5 minutes longer.
Serving: There’s plenty of ways to serve chili.
Some like it over rice, others prefer it plain. I love it topped with tofu sour cream. Be sure to offer bowls of slice green onions, grated cheese, and chopped cilantro so guests can customize their bowls. Cornbread is a great accompaniment, too.
I have tried this recipe with chocolate stirred in during the final cooking stages, which gives it an additional depth of flavor.