False Alarm Vegetable Chili
This is one of Joe Bonanno's most popular firehouse dishes. Choose a chili powder that suits your taste for heat. Leave the pot uncovered during simmering to allow excess water to evaporate and the chili to thicken.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large carrot, chopped medium
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, or 1/4 cup drained canned chopped green chiles
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound dried lentils, rinsed
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
- 1/3 cup chili powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, green and red peppers, carrot, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in 7 cups water, lentils, tomato paste, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Stir to blend, adding stewed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and crushed red-pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. If the chili starts to dry out, add hot water as needed. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.