Red Bean, Rice, and Hominy Chili

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  6 two-cup servings (12 cups total)
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  45 minutes

Red Bean, Rice, and Hominy Chili

Baby red beans and soft hominy are a great base for this vegan stew, but what takes it over the top is the dried chilis, a little bit of Mexican chocolate, and orange juice. This chili is a real crowd pleaser, but it is just as easy to reduce by half as it is to double. It’s easy-peasy to freeze and will reheat even better. Once it has cooked, you can serve it right away or leave it on the stove to simmer for another two hours. It also holds very well in a crockpot and is a great dish to bring to any community supper. It’s been gobbled up at gymnastics meets and square dances alike.

Ingredients

1 dried guajillo chili

1 dried ancho chili

1 dried pasilla chili

5 cups Roasted Vegetable Stock, divided, or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth

2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved, any green centers removed

1 celery stalk, with leaves

1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, stems, seeds, and pith removed

½ small onion

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup double concentrated tomato paste

1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes, or 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes

2 cups cooked kidney, pinto, or any small red or pink bean, well rinsed in cold water and drained (see Kitchen Tips)

1 cup cooked white hominy, well rinsed in cold water (see Kitchen Tips)

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems (about ¼ large bunch)

2 tablespoons uncooked medium-grain rice

1 bay leaf

1 stick cinnamon

1½ ounces (1 thin disc) Mexican chocolate, such as Ibarra, or Taza Chocolate Mexicano, Guajilo Chili, or Dark

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried

1 tablespoons fresh oregano, preferably Mexican, or ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 tablespoon dried epazote, optional

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup masa harina

Juice of 2 small oranges or clementines

Zest of 1 orange or clementine

Instructions

  1. To make the chili base, snap the stems off the dried chilis and shake out the seeds. Pour 2 cups of the stock into a large mixing  bowl. Tear or cut the peppers into coarse pieces and add to the stock. Add the garlic and set aside to soak while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. Cut the celery, bell peppers, and onions into 1-inch dice. Heat the oil in a large stockpot set over high heat until it shimmers. Add the vegetables and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, beans, hominy, cilantro, rice, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, chocolate, cumin, thyme, oregano, epazote, and ground cinnamon.
  4. Transfer the stock, chilies, and garlic to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Add to the stockpot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to low.
  5. Add the masa harina, the remaining stock and orange juice and stir to combine until dissolved. Add the masa mixture to the pot, stirring continuously. Cover and cook until it reaches a boil.
  6. The chili can be served now, or simmer it, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. No matter when you serve it, add the orange zest just before serving.

Kitchen Tips

  1. If you prefer canned beans, use the beans from a 14.5-ounce can that have been well drained and rinsed in cold water until the water runs clear. You can use any mid-sized bean with a softer skin. We love Rancho Gordo beans if you are a scratch bean-er. We like to make this with their Sangre de Toro beans. Goya’s small red beans (frijoles rojos pequenos) work beautifully as well.
  2. You can easily place this in a crockpot set on low and keep it warm all day. It will mellow as the time passes.

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