FIRE-ROASTED TOMATO AND VEGGIE CHILI
Be sure to serve this amazing chili with a skillet of hot cornbread and a fresh green salad. To speed up this recipe, roast the garlic ahead of time. Once cooled, it can be refrigerated for a day or two.
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)
1 large head garlic
1 pound sliced button mushrooms
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes
Two 10-ounce cans Rotel tomatoes (tomatoes with mild roasted green chilies)
14 1/2-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked black beluga lentils (or one 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed)
15-ounce can chili beans
12-ounce bottle beer
6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 to 3 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
2 to 3 teaspoons ancho chili powder
5 to 10 shakes hot sauce, or to taste (optional)
Ground black pepper
Chopped scallions, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and oyster crackers, to serve
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Remove the outer layer of papery skin from garlic. Slice off the top 1/2-inch from pointy top of the head. Drizzle with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Wrap the garlic in foil, then roast for 40 minutes, or until the cloves are golden-brown and soft. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high, heat a healthy splash of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Set aside until the garlic has cooled.
Return the pot to medium heat. Add the roasted garlic by squeezing each clove out of its papery skin. Add all three tomato varieties (grape, Rotel and fire-roasted), lentils, chili beans, beer and tomato paste. Mix well, then bring to a gentle boil. Stir in both chili powders. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until thickened and the tomatoes are cooked down. You may need to mash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper. Serve with scallions, cheddar cheese, sour cream and oyster crackers for topping.
Nutrition information per serving: 430 calories; 150 calories from fat (35 per cent of total calories); 17 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 48 g carbohydrate; 11 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 17 g protein; 1330 mg sodium.