I am kind of jumping the gun on New Year’s traditions and superstitions with this recipe, but given the vast amount of sweets and fattening savories I’ve indulged in this season, I yearned for a meal that’s both healthful and hearty.
Inspired by an old vegetarian chili recipe culled from the pages of Saveur, I assembled this stew in less than 30 minutes. The brew needs to simmer for 2½ hours or so, but my dinner was done just as I finished wrapping my last Christmas package. Add a salad on the side and some crusty French bread and your New Year’s luck may just arrive early!
Vegetarian White Bean Chili with Mushrooms
Note: Don’t use canned beans for this dish as the lengthy cooking time will cause the beans to lose their integrity. Additionally, if you don’t want to soak the beans overnight follow these directions for the quick-boil solution:
Using a large pot, cover the beans with about 2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil, cooking over high flame for 2 minutes. Remove from the flame and allow to rest in the covered pot for 1 hour. Drain and proceed with the recipe.
½ lb. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced – $1.99
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms – $2.99
3 Tablespoons olive oil – stock
1 large Vidalia or Maui onion, diced – $1.12
3 cloves garlic, minced – stock
½ lb. dried cannellini beans either soaked overnight or quick boil method (see note above) – $0.89
¼ cup tomato paste – $0.89
1 -15 oz. can of whole peeled plum tomatoes in juice– $1.09
2 cups vegetable stock – $2.49
2 Turkish bay leaves – stock
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan and parsley garnish, if desired
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $11.46
Total Per Serving: $1.91
1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Pour into a medium bowl and add the porcini mushrooms. Soak for about 20 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the reconstituted mushrooms to a cutting board and chop fine. Reserve 3 cups of the soaking liquid, leaving any sediment in the bottom of the original soaking bowl.
3. Set the reserved liquid aside.
4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Sauté the onion, garlic, portabella and porcini mushrooms until soft and the mushrooms begin to turn golden, about 20 minutes.
5. Add the whole tomatoes and their juices, crushing them with the back of a wooden spoon.
6. Add the tomato paste, vegetable stock, beans, soaking liquid, and bay leaves, salt and pepper.
7. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially covered. Stir occasionally until the beans are tender, about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Garnish with parsley and cheese, if desired.