This is a vegan version of a chili that I've been tinkering with for a long time, incorporating bits from various recipes and approaches, although the two largest influences have probably been the Betty Crocker's Cookbook that was a gift my parents and Alton Brown's Good Eats episode on chili.
A coffee grinder dedicated to being a spice grinder helps immensely. Spices that are as fresh ground as possible is the way to go here.
Also, I mention a slow cooker in the recipe, but you can do this over the stove if you like
Serves about 4.
Slow-cooker (or largish saucepan)
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs chili powder (I'm liking the Spice Island blend recently)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 inches cinnamon stick (1 tsp ground, if you must)
1 tsp whole cumin seed
¼ tsp whole black pepper
Grind the cinnamon, cumin and black pepper together in spice grinder.
1 Tbs canola oil
1 medium onion, cut into half-moons
4 cloves garlic (or be bold and do more), minced
¼ cup water.
1 -2 chipotles from chipotles in adobo, seeded and chopped, along with a 1-2 Tbs of the sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted are good)
1 can tomato sauce (or 1 6oz can tomato paste & 24 oz water)
1 can red kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 bag yellow corn tortilla chips. couple handfuls for the recipe, the rest for eating ;)
Put the oil in the frying pan and put the heat on mediumish. Add the onions once the oil's warm. Cook till the onion has browned (about 6 to 8 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the chopped garlic and stir for another 30 seconds or so. Put the onions and garlic in the slow cooker. Put heat on low, then deglaze the pan with the ¼ water.
Add diced tomatoes (drained), spices mix, beans, and the can of tomato sauce to the slow cooker and set on high. A note on the beans, the wife doesn't like pinto beans much and we've found great northern beans, although not traditional, adds a nice flavor.
Crush two or three handfuls of the tortilla chips and add to the slow-cooker.
You'll want to add the two deseeded and chopped chipotles and a tablespoon or two of the sauce that they come in. If you haven't used chipotle in adobo before, they're absolutely wonderful. I'd recommend using gloves. Open the can, take one out, cut it lengthwise. You'll then want to press it flat like you're opening a book and scrape out the inside and the seeds and throw them away. Chop up the pepper and add to the slow-cooker. Then take a tablespoon or two of the adobo sauce and add it.
If you really don't feel like dealing with the peppers, you can use a chipotle salsa instead. I've used this in the past as well. You can find a very small can of “chipotle salsa” frequently nearby chipotle in adobo sauce, and a few tablespoons of this stuff works pretty well.
I keep a glass canning jar around and put the leftover adobo and peppers in there and freeze them for later use.
After the chipotle is cleaned up, removed gloves (I just have some non-powdered latex ones in a drawer) and wash hands.
Stir the mixture in the slow-cooker periodically and let it cook for probably at least an hour. When you're getting close to serving, add the can of yellow corn. When it's hit a good mix and a consistency you like, serve.