A Better Tomorrow Chili

A Better Tomorrow Chili

Cooking is like a ritual to me. I put the tea kettle on the stove, line up bowls of mis en place, and listen to The Splendid Table. Last week’s episode of The Splendid Table featured chef Justin Warner, the author of The Laws of Cooking. Warner has interesting theories on flavor pairings which include his law of peanut butter and jelly and the law of gin and tonic. His recipe for Better Tomorrow Chili intrigued me. This recipe includes ingredients like mushroom powder, whole cinnamon sticks, and finely chopped pecans. Instead of making my own recipe this week, I thought I would try this one.

The chili was delicious, earthy, and had great texture! Did I mention this recipe is vegan?  We served this for family meal with topping options of corn chips, green onions, and/or cotija. I think I will feature someone else’s recipe once a month in addition to my own. Do you have any suggestions? 

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
16 ounces button mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean, and quartered
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups pecans (about 7 ounces), toasted, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cinnamon stick
Two 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups vegetable stock (or vegetable broth, and cut the salt by half)
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
One 1-ounce package dried mushrooms (whatever is cheapest), pulverized in a blender
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Method: In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the fresh mushrooms. Cook, stirring only once, until browned, about 6 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot and stir to incorporate. Simmer until the vegetables and nuts are soft, about 30 minutes. Take out cinnamon stick. Let cool. Refrigerate overnight. (Warner suggests making this the night before since chili is always better the next day reheated.)

Recipe credit: Justin Warner