The Ex’s Veggie Chili

From Sarah Kavage

Makes about 3 gallons

The story from Sarah: “My neighbor brought this vegetarian chili recipe over in response to my request for soup recipes. She got it from her ex-husband, who owned a restaurant back in the day, and praised it highly. I haven’t made chili in forever, and I rarely follow recipes — but I needed one to scale up to the large quantity required for Soup & Bread. And, in my recollection, this is the only nice thing my neighbor has ever said about her ex. So I figured it must be good.” Martha: “It is!”


4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 red onions
1 1/2 yellow onions
8 teaspoons chopped garlic
6 teaspoons chili powder (I used chipotle)
4 teaspoons chili flakes (I used a fresh hot pepper)
4 tablespoons cumin
2 zucchini (I used celery & carrots)
3 cups garbanzo beans
6 cups black beans
8 cups kidney beans
4 bottles of Guinness
2 tablespoons Greek oregano
4 20-oz cans tomatoes
2 red peppers
2 green peppers
I also added about 20 cloves (to me, chili is not chili unless you accidentally bite down on a clove), a dash of liquid smoke, salt and pepper to taste, and 4 large bay leaves into the pot.


Sautee the onions, celery, and garlic in the olive oil, adding the cumin and oregano halfway through. Then add this mix to the beans, along with the tomatoes and the Guinness and chiles/chili powder. Simmer half an hour; then add the rest of the veggies. Simmer slow and low until ready to serve.

The recipe called for goat cheese and cilantro as a garnish; for Soup & Bread I made a cilantro sour cream: Mix together 32 ounces plain yogurt, 16 ounces sour cream, a bunch of chopped cilantro, salt to taste, and the juice of 1 lime and 1 orange. Top each bowl of chili with a little dollop.


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