Chipotle Chili

This has been a favorite recipe for years. It evolved from a chicken chili dish, but I found that the chicken dilutes the flavor and can easily overcook and become tough. The trick to this chili is to balance the lime juice with the honey or maple syrup so that it's not too sour and not too sweet. Also, the fire-roasted tomatoes add a wonderful flavor and are worth finding in your area. I use Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, available at many upper-end grocery stores (i.e. Mustard Seed, Whole Foods, or Sprouts) or regular supermarkets (i.e. Giant Eagle, Walmart, etc.) in the health/gourmet aisle. The yellow hominy gives this dish another dimension but should not be overcooked or the chili will become mushy. The hominy can be replaced by frozen Fire Roasted Corn from Trader Joe's stores if you think it would be more readily accepted by your children. Other toppings on the table such as cheese and avocados are a nice addition, but not necessary.
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2 cups dried anasazi beans or white beans, soaked overnight, or 4 (15 oz) canned beans (white or pink) 1 tbsp olive or canola oil 1 tbsp garlic, minced 1 tbsp paprika 1 tbsp chili powder 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tbsp ground cumin 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups) 3 cups chopped orange or red bell pepper (about 3 peppers) 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (use 2 ½ cups if you are using canned beans) 1/2 cup fresh limes 3 tbsp raw honey or pure maple syrup 1 tbsp adobo sauce plus 1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped (to taste) 1 (28 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with liquid 2 cans yellow hominy, drained ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped salt to taste


1) Soak dried beans overnight. Anasazi beans are easily digestible and have a sweet, mild flavor. Change water and bring beans to boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Discard water and repeat two or three times to help eliminate remaining gas-producing sugars. Set beans aside.
2) Heat the oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and all spices. Sauté for 1 minute. Stir in onion and peppers; sauté for 3 minutes. Add soaked beans, broth, lime juice, honey, and chipotle pepper with at least 1 tbsp adobo sauce. (Add more chipotle pepper if you want it spicier and no pepper if you want it mild, but be sure to always add at least 1 to 2 tbsp adobo sauce for flavor.)
3) Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 60 to 75 minutes or until beans are soft. Add diced tomatoes with liquid and simmer for another 10 minutes. If using canned beans, cut the broth to 2 ½ cups, add tomatoes, and then simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Stir in hominy and simmer uncovered until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste. Add chopped cilantro to each bowl just before serving. Enjoy!