Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chipotle Portobello Chili

When I landed in RDU airport on my way back from a very intense Christmas vacation in Madrid I was tired, cranky and, most importantly, hungry. Two things made me instantly feel  better: seeing Austin waiting for me and him mentioning that there was a pot of chili waiting for us at home. When questioned about the origin of said chili, Austin revealed he had used Emeril Lagasse's Vegetarian Chili recipe. As soon as we got home, we heated up the delicious stew and started eating immediately. It may have been the state I was in, but I thought it was the most delicious chili I had ever had (and I eat chili a lot!).

Because of the comfort this chili had brought me in a time of need, I decided to make it for a sick Austin tonight. Even though Emeril's chili is amazing as it is, I couldn't resist the urge to tinker with the recipe. I wanted to incorporate one of my favorite ingredients in Southwestern and Mexican cooking -- chipotle in adobo. These days you can thankfully find cans of these smoked jalapeños in the Hispanic section of almost any grocery store. Since I rarely use a whole can at once, I store leftovers in ziploc bags in the freezer. You can also find chipotles in ground form, perfect for when you want a hint of their flavor and don't need the whole peppers. Chipotle's smoky flavor makes stews, barbecue sauces and the like taste as if they've been simmering for half a day when they really only spent an hour on the stove top.  In addition to the chipotle, I also added some cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder to the chili, both widely used in savory Mexican dishes.

Some ingredients in this recipe should not be fooled around with. The use of portobello mushrooms really gives the chili some heft and earthiness. The corn, which can be fresh or frozen, lends the chili some essential sweetness. Lastly, chili isn't really chili without lots of ground chili powder and cumin. As with most any recipe I post here that isn't a baked good, feel free to adapt the recipe below to suit your needs and your pantry.

Chipotle Portobello Chili
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Vegetarian Chili
Makes about 6 servings 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 chipotles in adobo, chopped and seeded if you don't like heat
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from chipotles
  • 1 medium zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh corn
  • 4 large portabello mushrooms, stems removed, wiped with a damp cloth and cubed
  • 2 15 oz cans or 3 cups of cooked black beans 
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 28 oz can of whole or chopped tomatoes, juices included
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle or cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped and packed
  • Optional: cubed avocado for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Toss in the bell pepper, garlic and onion. Cook until the onions are starting to become translucent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the portobellos, corn and zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown in some spots.

3. Add the chili powder, cumin, chopped and dried chipotle, adobo sauce, cocoa, cinnamon and salt. Stir until all the ingredients are coated in the spices.

4. Mix in the stock, beans and the tomatoes, both fresh and canned. If using whole canned tomatoes, break them up with your hands first. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.

5. Take the pot off the heat and add the cilantro. Serve with bread for dunking or over rice. Optionally garnish with avocado.


  1. Nice bowl! Chilli looks good too. Too bad Papa is not a chilli fan.

  2. I will bet you any amount of money he'd enjoy this. In fact, I might make it while you guys are here.

  3. This is fantastic. Made it last night.