Rich, hearty and filling with a bit of heat, filled with tender beans and perfectly roasted vegges, it’s a fantastic way to warm up and fill your belly on a cool night. Oven roasting the vegges helps to ensure a deeper, richer flavour at the end, and removes a good deal of their moisture, keep the chili from thinning out, and reduces the cooking time of the chili itself, which means less stirring and less chance of scorching. It’s completely worth it, i assure you. This post may seem long and the directions very involved, but that is simply because i provide you with multiple options for cooking the chili, not because it’s a complex recipe, it’s actually very simple so don’t be scared.
1 cup | ½ recipe of (mex) red chili paste
740g | 4 cups of cooked beans, drained (if using home cooked beans, save the cooking liquid to use, if using canned beans, toss it out)
475g/ml | 2 cups bean cooking liquid or broth
150g | just over 1 cup chopped onion
60g | ½ cup chopped bell pepper
35g | ¼ cup finely chopped celery
35g | ¼ cup finely chopped carrot
35g | ¼ cup chopped green summer squash (like zucchini)
35g | ¼ cup chopped yellow summer squash (like crookneck)
75g | ½ cup fresh sweet corn kernels (you can use frozen if you must, but fresh is better)
225g | ½ lb mushrooms, finely chopped (cremini or baby bella work best)
30g | 2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter (or sunflower butter, or soy butter)
200g | ½ a small can fire roasted tomatoes (optional, helps to round out flavors and add some acidity)
roasting the vegges:
Roast them in the oven at 450F until the excess moisture has cooked off and the edges start to brown (usually 20-30 mins or so with just a few minutes under the broiler at the end)
cooking in the oven:
Preheat oven to 350F In an oven safe stock pot or pan large enough to hold everything, bring liquids to a simmer/slight boil over medium heat while stirring (you can do this while vegges are cooking)
Add in remaining ingredients, cover with oven safe lid or foil
Cook in oven for at least 1 hour (you can go longer if you want a darker, richer, sweeter chili) If you like a really thick chili, remove the lid the last last 20 minutes of roasting
instant pot/electric pressure cooker (pot-in-pot/PIP method):
Place the trivet into the bottom of the pot and add about 2 cups of water, place your chili into an oven safe cooking vessel and cover, place onto trivet, close and lock lid and set to 10 minutes high pressure
Allow to release naturally
instant pot/electric pressure cooker (not PIP):
You want to layer your ingredients to avoid scorching
Add in this order, WITHOUT STIRRING: vegges, beans, broth, chili paste, peanut butter, tomatoes
Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, allow to release naturally
Stir everything together and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving
Throw everything into cooker (if you’re short on time, bring liquids to a slight boil before adding to speed things up)
Cook on LOW setting (again, scorching!) for at least 2 hours. The longer it cooks, the richer, sweeter and thicker the chili will be (yes moisture does escape from a slow cooker)
Bring liquids to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring (again, scorches easily)
Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low to medium-low, so that it is barely simmering, continue to simmer (while stirring often) for 20 mins
feel free to use whatever mixture of beans you'd like (or just a single bean if that's your thing) and use whatever vegges you prefer or have on hand, just keep the amounts the same and everything should turn out smashing.
The ingredients here are actually pretty simple, the base is (mex) red chili paste, which provides most of our flavour here, then we have vegetable broth (or the liquid from home cooked beans) for the liquid, some saltiness, and umami, some fire roasted tomatoes to bring in some acidity and body, peanut butter for richness, umami, and to bring in some creaminess (you can also use sunflower seed or soy butter here if you’re avoiding peanuts), and an assortment of vegges to roast and cooked beans (hopefully homemade, but canned will do.) As a heads up, the photos here are for a double batch, so try and keep that in mind if you’re using them as a guide for cut sizes and such.
Now, assuming you have your red chili paste ready (if you don’t, do that first), you’re gonna start with roasting the vegges, which takes a while, but like i mentioned before, is totally worth it. You want to spread them out on a parchment lined baking tray, if you’re able to get them in a single layer the roasting will go much quicker, if they’re sort of doubled up (like in the picture here) that’s okay too, they’ll just take a little longer in the oven.
You want to roast them until they’ve reduced in size by half and have some beautiful browned and slightly blackened edges showing. If you don’t roast them long enough they will have too much moisture remaining and your chili will be watered down in the end. You don’t want that, so be patient here and use your eyes as the guide and not your timer. Okay? Okay.
Now you just stir everything together and cook! See? That wasn’t so bad.
Your work is pretty much done, the rest is mostly hands off (assuming you’re NOT cooking this on the stove top, which i really recommend against.) Chili is always one of those things i’m paranoid about, even just a little scorching (which is SO easy to have happen) will permeate through the whole batch and for some (like us) render it inedible. So i’ve devised several cooking methods over the years to prevent this atrocity from happening and destroying my precious chili, using a (ceramic/stoneware) slow cooker, roasting the chili in the oven (it’s already hot from the vegges after all), and using an electric pressure cooker with the pot-in-pot method. These will all yield strikingly similar end results, with only minor differences. The slow cooking will typically yield more tender beans and vegges, the oven roasting will tend to be a tad sweeter and richer, and the electric pressure will be somewhere smack dab in the middle of the other two. In reality, these differences are actually very subtle, so the choice is yours here on which method to use based on time, preference and available equipment.
However you decide to make it, you’ll love it. Served up in a big bowl, naked, with crackers, or your favorite chili fixins, piled high over spaghetti cincinnati style with shredded cheese. Maybe you like it on fries, or over burritos, maybe layered over polenta or cornbread, perhaps smothering some nachos and drizzled in queso….the possibilities are only limited to your imagination here. Also, this freezes really well, so don’t be afraid to make larger batches (we usually double it and freeze some for later) it will keep for at least 6 months in the freezer.
One final note (that i sincerely hope you do not have to refer to) IF the dreaded scorching happens, DO NOT stir anything, quickly grab another large pot and pour your chili into that, leaving the scorched grossness on the bottom of the pan. This may be your salvation here if it hasn’t had time to infuse into the rest of the chili. Whatever you do, don’t scrape that nasty foulness into your chili.