Lt. Dan’s Smoky Vegetarian Chili

1 19-ounce can canellini beans
2 16-ounce cans black beans
1 16-ounce can kidney beans
1 16-ounce can garbanzo beans
2 sun-dried tomatoes
2 dried Chipotle chili peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
3 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
11/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder

  • In a large colander drain the beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid.
  • Rinse the beans under cold running water.
  • In a microwavable coffee mug, combine the sun-dried tomatoes and Chipotle chili peppers with 3/4-cup water.
  • Microwave on high until the water begins to boil. Set aside to steep.
  • In a 6-quart stockpot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame.
  • Add the chopped onion and green bell pepper.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped sweet potato, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and water. Stir to combine.
  • Add the thyme, oregano, cumin, chili powder and fresh-ground black pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Bring entire mixture to a slow boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce heat to simmer, cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  • Add the canellini beans, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and their reserved liquid. Stir to combine.
  • Cover, and continue simmering and stirring occasionally for another 30 minutes.
  • In a small blender or food processor, puree the sun-dried tomatoes and Chipotle chili peppers together with their soaking liquid.
  • Add to the stockpot, and stir to combine.
  • Cover, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
  • Adjust the seasonings to your liking and serve hot.

Makes about 51/2 quarts

Dan’s Roll Call: Lieutenant Dan Chieffo has been working with, and cooking for, the Waterbury, CT Fire Department since he was a rookie ten years ago. Dan likes his chili and has several variations of this firehouse standard. The vegetarian version he serves up here is very low in sodium and fat. Dan makes a good point, and says if you can’t find dried chipotle peppers in your area, you can substitute one canned pepper for the two dried ones, simply add it to the blender, without first adding it to the sun-dried tomato “tea”. If you are wondering what to serve on the side, Dan submits his simple and delicious Cheesy Corn Muffin recipe.