Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sweet & Spicy Vegetable Chili

This fantastic recipe was found on Simply Recipes. I wanted a way to use all the fresh eggplant and zucchini and tomatoes in my fridge and I wasn't looking for an "eggplant showcase" recipe. This was perfect. It was just spicy enough. Suprisingly sweet. Healthy. Perfect. Might be one of my favorite new meals. :D I cut this recipe in half and have noted specific changes in parantheses. Also, I cooked this in a crockpot therefore I did not follow the methods...aside from the roasting of the eggplant. Super easy!

1 1-pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
Olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, diced
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely minced (Taste and check the heat of the jalapeños. If very hot only use one, if mildly hot, use two. Wash hands with soap and water after handling. Do not rub eyes.)
1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (or 5-6 chopped fresh tomatoes)
1/2 cup red wine (or 1 cup water and 1 can tomato paste)
1-2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (omitted)
1 1/2 cup cooked white beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed) (omitted when recipe halved)
1 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
Zest of one lemon
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place cubed eggplant into small, shallow roasting pan. Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven, set aside.
2. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat in a 5-6 quart Dutch oven. Add onions, cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic, cook for a minute more. Add zucchini, red bell peppers, and jalapeños. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Coarsely chop the canned tomatoes, add to pot with their liquid. Add wine, cumin oregano, and fennel seeds. Add chili powder to desired heat. Gently stir in reserved eggplant, simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.
4. Add beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and cilantro. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions.
Serves 8-10.

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