October 10, 2012

Fall Veggie Chili

You probably don't need me to tell you that it's been pretty chilly lately. Fall is definitely here! I love the brisk air & it calls for warming foods.

We don't want to turn on the heat yet. In the early summer, we got new windows & we're testing them out to see how much better they retain the heat than our old ones. So far they are doing a great job! It's been about 63-67 in our house all week. Chilly, but right in the temps that kept the heat all last winter. I'm sure once it's consistantly below freezing outside that we will need to turn on the heat, but not yet!

In the meantime, I'm making more soups & using the oven. We've been roasting lots of veggies, plus making new treats like the Baked Polenta Fries, pictured with the chili. This was my first time making them, but it won't be the last! They're crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, & full of cornbread-ish flavor. I think it will be fun to play around with the flavors a little - maybe add some herbs & spices to match the meal. These were perfect dippers for our chili!
The chili was warm, slightly spicy, & filling, just as chili should be. It's the perfect fall chili because it uses up the last bits of zucchini & tomatoes, but still has the flavors of a hearty winter chili.


Fall Veggie Chili
Inspired by Ashley's Cocoa Chili
Serves 6-8

1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 small or 1 large stalk of celery, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeds removed, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 small-medium tomatoes, chopped
6 c vegetable broth
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 14oz can black beans (or 1 1/2 c cooked)
1 T tomato paste
2 small zucchini, sliced & quartered
1 small summer squash, sliced & quartered

In a large pot, cook onions over low heat until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add peppers, celery, and jalapenos, increasing heat to medium. Cook for another 5 minutes, then add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant, then add tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir in cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add beans and tomato paste & cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and summer squash, cooking until soft, about another 20-30 minutes. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will get. Once it is the consistancy you like, ladle it into bowls and serve.


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