Week Night Yum Yum: 3 Bean Autumn Chili

Monday, November 1, 2010

This is one of my favorite fall soups to make. It's very healthy and low-fat to help combat all that consumption of Halloween candy, and I love that the flavors and colors are quintessential fall. The soup itself is very easy to make and by using vegetable broth instead of chicken, is totally and completely vegetarian. A fresh squeeze of lime and some finely chopped cilantro at the end give the chili a nice bright flavor too.

3 Bean Autumn Chili
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can canneloni beans, drained
2 carrots, peeled and chopped small
1 white onion, chopped small
1 poblano pepper, seeds and stem removed and chopped small
1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed and chopped small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 bay leaf
8 cups (2 boxes) of chicken or vegetable stock
3 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
fresh cilantro for garnish
lime wedges for garnish

Heat the vegetable or olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, poblano and bell peppers to the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables on medium-high heat until starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes. If you see the vegetables burning, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until caramelized. Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne if using, and bay leaf and incorporate. Add the garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Add all the beans to the pot, then the stock a little at a time. Use the liquid from the stock to help scrape up any "brown bits" from the bottom and sides of the pot. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes so flavors can combine. Next, add the corn and simmer another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with chopped cilantro and fresh lime wedges as garnish.

My Notes:
If making this for kids, leave the cayenne out. If the adults want spicy, then just add some hot sauce right on top to taste.

Goes great with cornbread muffins!

Can be made a day in advance and reheated in the pot at mediu-low heat. Also keeps well for about 4 days in the fridge!

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