Earthy mushrooms, tomatillos and a subtle layering of spices combine to give this full-bodied vegetarian chili a deep complexity of flavor. Note that dried beans need to be soaked before going into the slow cooker. Once that's done, the chili can gently bubble for hours, adding flexibility to your schedule.
1 pound dried black beans (21/2 cups), picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup mustard seeds
8 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
5 1/2 cups mushroom broth or vegetable broth, homemade (page 67) or canned
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1-2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges
Soak beans overnight in 2 quarts water. (Alternatively, place beans and 2 quarts water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.) Drain beans, discarding soaking liquid.
Meanwhile, combine oil, mustard seeds, chili powder, cumin and cardamom in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Place over high heat and stir until the spices sizzle, about 30 seconds. Add onions, mushrooms, tomatillos and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are juicy, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and stir often until the juices evaporate and the vegetables are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add broth, tomato paste and chipotles (with sauce); mix well.
Place the beans in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour the hot mixture over the beans. Turn heat to high. Put the lid on and cook until the beans are creamy to bite, 5 to 8 hours.
To serve, ladle the chili into bowls. Garnish each serving with cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro. Pass lime wedges at the table.
*Stovetop Method: Start to Finish: 4 1/2 Hours
In Step 2, increase broth to 8 1/2 cups. Omit Step 3. Add the beans to the Dutch oven; cover and simmer the chili gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until beans are creamy to bite, about 3 hours.
Makes 10 servings, generous 1 cup each.
Prep Time: 25 Minutes plus 1 1/4 Hours soaking time | Slow-Cooker Time: 5-8 Hours | To Make Ahead: The chili will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, if necessary, and reheat on the stovetop or in a microwave. | Ease of Preparation: Easy
Per Serving: 310 Calories; 10 g Fat (4 g sat, 2 g mono); 20 mg Cholesterol; 40 g Carbohydrate; 18 g Protein; 13 g Fiber; 414 mg Sodium.
Nutrition Bonus: 53% DV Fiber, 187 mcg Folate (47% DV), 743 mg Potassium (37% DV), 4 mg Iron (25% DV).