harvest party chili

2 cups beans
adzuki, black, pinto, kidney, or any kind of bean or mixture of beans
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 whole bay leaves
1 bunch kale
separate stems and finely chop both
1 can canned chipotle pepper plus adobo sauce
1 medium onion
1 lb ground beef
optional, exclude for vegan version
2 medium carrots
2 whole red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ancho chili pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 can plum tomatoes
28 ounces, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
thinned with water
salt and pepper
to taste
shredded cheese
exclude for vegan
salsa fresca
green onions
sour cream
exclude for vegan
  • large soup pot
  • slow cooker (optional)
This chili is chock-full of veggies and can be made with meat or made meat-free for a vegetarian-style chili.
Rinse beans, put in large soup pot, and cover with 2" of water. Add apple cider vinegar and soak beans overnight. Drain.
Cover beans with water, add bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Skim any foam off the top, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (depending on the beans, it can take 2-3 hours). You can also cook beans in a slow cooker. Set aside and reserve cooking liquid.
In a separate large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5-10 minutes until golden. If using meat, add meat and cook until no longer pink. Add carrots, bell peppers, garlic, and kale stems and cook for 5 minutes more. Add chipotle pepper in adobo (just add one chopped pepper at this point), and spices, then cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Stir in canned tomatoes, beans (without cooking liquid), and tomato paste. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid from the beans until you reach the desired texture.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Add chopped kale leaves at the last 5 minutes of cooking; they will wilt fast and retain green color.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. To increase spiciness, add more chipotle peppers and adobo sauce.
Cool chili and refrigerate for a day or two, then reheat and serve with toppings.
source: Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
We usually double the recipe when cooking this at home, and leftovers freeze great. We tripled or quadrupled the recipe the year we brought it for Harvest party - for two BIG pots of chili!

There was no sausage that year (we were having Harvest Party on the Presidio green, where grills were not allowed), so it was intended to be the meaty dish. It had been refrigerated overnight and the plan was to re-heat the chili in our slow cookers. But we were having problems with the generator, and the chili wouldn't heat up (and nobody wants chilly chili!). So we lugged two big pots of chili over to the Presidio Bowling Alley kitchen, and asked them if there was any way they could heat it up for us! They were very kind to take on the task, and thankfully we were able to enjoy warm chili on that particularly blustery October day!