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One of the things I love about this time of year is watching football.  At our house we make LSU games an event.  Every Saturday we make sure that our schedule is clear for game time, and then we say, “what are we going to cook for the game?”  So of course we were thrilled that LSU made it to the big game this year, and even though they did not win, at least we had one winning bowl of veggie chili to make watching the game a little less painless.  Don’t worry if you are not a football fan, you can still whip up this bowl of chili to warm up on a cold day.

The thing that is really great about chili is that it is really versatile.  If you don’t  like or have one of the ingredients on the list you can omit it, or you can add or sub ingredients.  Try using kidney beans instead of black beans or adding a yellow squash to the mix.   Turn up the heat even more by adding an extra jalapeno or experiment with different chilis. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, the recipe is super simple.

Game Day Vegetarian Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno pepper

1 serrano pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chili powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried chipotle

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1-12 ounce beer, preferably a lager

14 oz can tomato sauce

14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1 zucchini, diced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Choice of garnish (avocado, cilantro, red or green onion, cheese, sour cream are some that come to mind)

Organic tortilla chips for serving

In a large stock pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil.  Add the celery, onion, carrots, bell pepper.  Cook stirring frequently about 8 minutes until the onion are soft and translucent.  Add the jalapeno, serrano, garlic, and remaining spices.  Cook stirring constantly for about a minute until all of the veggies are coated in spices.  Pour in the beer and stir, scraping any burned bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a slow boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer stirring occasionally for 45 minutes.   Serve with tortilla chips and garnish with some sliced avocado, onion, cheese or sour cream if you like.

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