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I wanted to create a vegetarian chili that is deeply flavored with real chiles, and spicy enough to make smoke come out of your ears. I think I’ve finally cracked the code with the recipe below. It includes six types of peppers, including smoky chipotles, along with pan-charred onions and serranos, beer and a hint of chocolate – resulting in a chili that is intense, complex and spicy.
1Soak the beans overnight, or use the quick-soak method (see below.) Drain, cover beans well with fresh cold water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. When the beans are nearly tender, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Continue cooking until tender, about 1 hour total (cooking time will vary based on the type and age of beans.) Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid.
2Heat a cast-iron pan until very hot. Add the dried chiles and press down with a spatula and cook until the peppers begin to soften and are beginning to blacken, about 1 minute. Remove from pan, cut off the stems and shake out the seeds. Tear the chiles into pieces and place in a blender along with 1 cup of the beer, and puree until smooth.
3Re-heat the cast-iron pan over high heat and add the onion slices and Serrano peppers. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning the onions once, until they are well charred and soft. Remove the onions and chop. Cut the stems off the serranos and chop. (For a milder dish, slice the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds before chopping.)
4Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic, celery and bell peppers and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add the prepared onions and serranos, cumin, black pepper and oregano and cook for 2 minutes. Add the seitan, fire-roasted green chiles, chipotle and chile puree and cook 2 minutes more. Add the remaining beer, tomatoes, bean cooking liquid and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add cooked beans and cook 10 minutes more. Stir in chocolate and serve,
5Note: to quick-soak beans, put them in a large pot and add cold water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for two minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour.
In this episode of Chow-to, Guillermo visits a Greenwich Village institution for all things English, Tea and Sympathy. He meets with Nicky Perry (owner and founder) to learn her family’s easy recipe for beef shepherd’s pie (which technically in modern British English is a cottage pie). No matter what you call it, this quarantine-friendly comfort dish uses some ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, and will make you feel cozy all year round. This is an excellent way to make something delicious and inexpensive (you only need ground meat, potatoes, carrots and frozen peas!) that will last for a couple of days, making it perfect for cooking during lockdown.
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