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Awesome Meatless Chili
When my vegetarian daughter would come home from college it always presented challenges and opportunities. My family loves chili, and while I sympathize with those who claim that "good vegetarian chili" is an oxymoron I felt I could put something on the table that we all could enjoy. This recipe succeeds wonderfully. The seasonings, herbs and chiles provide wonderful depth to the flavor. So much so you'll hardly miss the meat. It also means that you can improvise with veggies you like the most. If you can't find Anchos, or another suitable dried chile, in your local markets try Pendery's web site. They are very reasonably priced. And while you're there order some of their Top Hat chili powder blend.
Remove the seeds and stem from the Ancho chiles. Put the chiles into a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. When done remove from heat, cover and set aside.
While the chiles are simmering heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the onions, garlic and celery until the veggies just begin to soften. Stir in the ground chili powder, salt, cumin, paprika, oregano and bay leaf. Add the broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
While the chili is simmering place the Ancho chiles in a blender with about ¼ cup of the water from the saucepan and whir until pureed. Stir the pureed Anchos and all remaining ingredients into the pot and simmer for a ½ hour. Remove bay leaves prior to serving.
For best results allow chili to cool completely and then reheat.
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