Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vegetarian Peanut Butter Chili

Two weeks ago, Joe and I went to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break. Spring Break as an adult bears little resemblance to my Spring Breaks in college, though we did see plenty of college co-eds cutting loose. On our Spring Break, we got up early to run along the beach, relaxed with our leisure reading, and I even mastered throwing a Frisbee. Not that there wasn’t imbibing, particularly of the beachy, fruity drink sort. We also went on an Everglades tour and held a baby alligator.


After asking a few locals, we zeroed in on a fish market in order to find some stone crab. While it certainly wasn’t cheap, it was incredibly delicious and fresh. The fish market even cracked the claws for us. In addition to the claws, we picked up a loaf of French bread and some of their house-made mustard sauce. With a bottle of white wine on the back porch of our rental house, it rivaled the meals we had in restaurants. Stone crabs are a very sustainable seafood choice because they can re-grow a single claw up to four or five times as long as the other one remains. I had no idea about that until I looked it up!


Fortunately, to make the transition back to the real world, the weather here has been pretty nice. Not at all the kind of weather one would associate with making chili, but I did anyway. Without any meat, this chili is an appropriate spring chili. The peanut butter not only adds a nutty flavor but also a creaminess. Making this did not go entirely smoothly. I accidentally quadrupled the cayenne pepper and had a smoked paprika explosion trying to get the cap off of the jar. I was worried about the heat, but a day later, the cayenne flavor had mellowed quite a bit, so if I were to make it again, I would triple the measurement, which I have reflected in the recipe below.

When you travel, do you partake of the local specialties?


Vegetarian Peanut Butter Chili
source: Branny Boils Over
Yields 6 servings


1 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (preferably unsweetened)
Two (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
One (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
One (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
One (15-ounce) can whole sweet corn, rinsed and drained


In large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes.  Let simmer for 5 minutes and then add vegetable stock and peanut butter. Stir until well incorporated. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and add all beans and corn. Let simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.