Sweet Potato Pumpkin Chili

This vegetarian chili is really a cross between stew and chili, but whatever you call it, it's good.  The cocoa powder and canned pumpkin aren't detectable, and make it more delicious and healthy.  The mushrooms add a savory flavor, and because they are cut in such small pieces, they aren't obvious. However, they can be pureed if you have any mushroom-haters.  The two types of potatoes give this chili a stew-like quality, while adding interest and more great nutrition. I love using dried anasazi beans in this chili, but any type of bean works.  If you have dried beans on hand, rinse them well and then cook them on low in the crockpot (covered with water) overnight or during the day, rather than soaking them and then cooking them.  This recipe requires a lot of chopping, but it makes enough to freeze and it's good chili.  If you're afraid of spicy heat in your food, please don't skip the jalapeño peppers, just add two jalapeños without the seeds, which adds flavor but not heat.  Add meat if you prefer, but either way it's a real winner in both taste and nutrition!
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1 tbsp olive oil, divided 1 medium-to-large onion, diced (any color) 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 5 stalks celery, diced (optional) 4 bell peppers, diced 3-4  jalapenos, seeded and diced small (to taste) 32 ounces mushrooms, minced or pureed (about 7 to 8 cups) 3 teaspoons ground cumin ½  teaspoon pepper 1  teaspoon dried oregano 1 1/2  teaspoons chili powder 2  teaspoons smoked paprika 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes 1 large Russet poato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes 1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes (Glen Muir fire roasted), undrained 2-15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or use 1 1/2 cups dried anazasi beans) 4 cups water mixed with 2 tbsp vegetarian beef broth base, (Better Than Bouillon brand) or 32 oz. vegetarian or beef stock (one box) plus 2 tsp salt 1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder salt and pepper to taste


1) Heat a large pot to medium-high heat.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil and add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeños.  Saute for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant.  Set aside.
2) In same pot, heat the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Add the minced or pureed mushrooms and stir to combine.  Sprinkle in cumin, oregano, chili powder and smoked paprika.  Cook until softened.
3) Add the onion-pepper mixture, tomatoes, beans, broth, pumpkin, and cocoa powder to pot and stir to combine.  Simmer on low for an hour or two.  Add diced potatoes and cook for another hour or so.
4) Season with additional salt to taste before serving.  If you wish, serve with plain Greek yogurt, sliced avocados, and a small squirt of fresh lime juice, and any other toppings you desire.


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