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Its really starting to feel like fall here in Baltimore. Instead of getting corn and peaches from my CSA I’m picking up squash and apples. Now no matter when I head out for a run it’s the perfect temperature (no more getting up at 5 am to beat the heat). The leaves are starting to change and the air is crisp with the wonderful smell that only belongs to fall. I , however, know it’s officialially fall when I start to crave big bowls of chili.

Chicken chili, classic chili, turkey chili, vegetarian chili, I love them all. This recipe is hands down the best vegetarian chili I’ve had. When I was a vegan/vegetarian I used to serve this chili to meat eaters all the time and they never asked “where’s the beef”. Hominy is the secret to success in this recipe because it gives a nice meaty bite to the chili. For those of you wondering what hominy is, it’s corn that has had the hull and germ of the kernel removed. It is often dried and ground into hominy grits. If you can’t find hominy in the canned vegetable section of the grocery store look for it in the Latin food section. Also, when you find it, pick up a couple of cans because it can sometimes be difficult to find. As with all chili it is even better the next day. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Black Bean and Hominy Chili

  • 1 pound of dried or 4 15 oz cans of black beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil                                                      
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced                                                         
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped                                            
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder                                        
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes                                                   
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar                                          
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme                                                 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin                                 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano                                    
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander                                        
  • 28 ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes with the juice            
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of vegetable broth                     
  • 1 broth can of water                        
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of white or yellow hominy, drained                    
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper                                          
  • salt to taste

If you are using dried beans cover them with 3 or 4 inches of water and soak overnight. Drain and cover beans with fresh water and bring to a boil. Allow the beans to boil 1-1 1/2 hours until the beans are soft. Drain and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, over medium flame, heat the oil and saute the garlic and onions until translucent, 5-10 minutes. Then add all the spices from chili powder thru coriander. Stir and cook for and additional 5 minutes, until the spices become fragrant.

Add the beans, tomatoes with their juice, vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame to a simmer, cover and cook for 30-45 minutes, until chili is nicely thickened.

Add hominy, salt and pepper. Bring up to temperature and serve.

Note: If you’re nervous about the heat in this chili adjust the amount of chili powder and red pepper flakes used. Start out with 1 tablespoon of chili powder and increase in 1 tablespoon increments until you get the desired heat. For the red pepper flakes start with 1/4 teaspoon and increase the amount until you’ve achieved desired heat.

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