We’ve made a vegetable chili that is just as lush and spicy as those with lots of beef and pork.
- 1 medium-size eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- ¾ cup (or as needed) best-quality olive oil
- 2 medium-size yellow onions, cut into ¼ -inch dice
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 large green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 can (35 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes
- 1½ pounds fresh ripe Italian plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, drained
- 1 cup canned chick-peas (garbanzos), drained
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Let stand for 1 hour. Pat dry with paper towels.
2. Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and sauté until almost tender, adding a bit more oil if necessary. Remove the eggplant to a casserole or Dutch oven.
3. Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in the same skillet over low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and green peppers and sauté just until softened, about 10 minutes. Add to the casserole with any oil.
4. Place the casserole over low heat and add the canned tomatoes with their liquid, fresh tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, fennel, and parsley. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes.
5. Stir in the kidney beans, chick-peas, dill, and lemon juice and cook for another 15 minutes. The eggplant peel should be tender. Stir well and taste and adjust seasonings.
6. Serve immediately with brown rice and lots of shred Cheddar cheese.