This full bodied chili you can make as hot as you like and serve three garnishes for cooling down: sour cream, scallions and grated cheese.

* Did you know dairy is THE BEST for cooling down chili pepper heat? If you make it too hot for a guest, just have them stir in a huge dollop of sour cream and grated cheese.

1 small – medium eggplant,  cut into 1/2 (ish) inch cubes. — even if you think you don’t like eggplant, try this. It adds meaty texture and flavor to your chili.

1 Tablespoon coarse salt

Place the eggplant in a colander , toss it with the salt and let sit for an hour to remove excess moisture. Pat dry with paper towels.

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 onions, diced about 1/4 inch

2 zucchini, diced about 1/4 inch

1 red bell pepper, diced about 1/4 inch

1 yellow pepper, diced about 1/4 inch

4 large cloves garlic, smashed or chopped

8 – 10  ripe fresh plum tomatoes OR canned, cut or broken by hand inot about 1 inch pieces

1 Cup vegetable stock (homemade if you have) – recipe here

1 Cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

1/2 cup slivered fresh basil (or frozen if you grew some and put it up last summer !)

3 Tablespoons really good chili powder

1 1/2- 2 Tablespoons toasted ground cumin (toasting is optional and SO worth it)

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 Teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like, but be careful)

Salt to taste

2 cups cooked black beans (cook your own! They really do taste better. Yes, you can use canned in a pinch) you can also use any other bean you like in this chili.

1 1/2 Cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

1/2 Cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 – 1/2 Cup lemon juice

Garnish:

Sour Cream

Grated Monterey Jack or cheddar or combo

Chopped scallions

cilantro leaves

  • Heat 1/4 Cup Olive oil in large pot ( I use a wide, deep braising pan)
  •  Add onion, zucchini, bell peppers and garlic . Saute over medium-low heat about 10 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, heat remaining 1/4 Cup Olive Oil and saute eggplant until just tender about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggplant to chili pot.
  • Add vege stock, tomatoes, 1/2 cup parsley, basil and spices to pot. Over low heat, cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add black beans, corn, dill and lemon juice. Cook another 15 minutes to blend all the flavors
  • Adjust salt and seasonings to taste
  • Stir in remaining parsley
  • Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of cheese and scallions and a dash of cilantro leaves