This hearty vegetarian chili recipe was adapted from a recipe of Jan Buonanno. Jan is one of our all-time favorite farmers. There is a story that goes with this chili but it is not mine to share!
Besides getting to use every pot in your house, you can use nearly every vegetable in your fridge and pantry. I like to use brussel sprouts, shallots or pearl onions, squash, pumpkin or sweet potato, peppers, kale, and cauliflower.
Soak black beans overnight in water to cover amply. The following day drain, cover with fresh water and cook over medium-low until tender, strain and set aside.
Toast cumin in a skillet over medium heat until several shades darker, stirring often. Allow to cool, and then grind in spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
To make the base, heat oil and cook onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook one minute longer. Add chipotle and New Mexican powders and tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Add 4 cups of water. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree in batches or blend with an immersion blender.
Heat oil and cook celery, onion, and fennel until caramel color about fifteen minutes, stirring often. While the celery/onion/fennel cooks, wash, prep and steam vegetables. Steam each vegetable separately until just barely cooked.
When the celery/onion/fennel is nicely brown, add roasted cumin and cook for one minute longer. Add tomatoes, lentils, vegetables, and sauce. Simmer until lentils are tender. Add vegetables, black beans, and salt, simmering for an additional twenty minutes, checking to see an additional cup of water of water is needed for desired consistency. Taste and adjust salt as need. Garnish as desired.