Handwritten Recipe: White Grass Chili

This recipe comes from grad school friends of ours who are fellow outdoor enthusiasts and local adventurers.  Fun fact: our first backpack-camping trip with kid #1 was with them (and despite the rough night, they still wanted to be friends).  They are good people.  This is good chili.  And vegetarian/vegan!  Yummy.

2 1/2 c. dried pinto beans
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and grated
1 1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1 c. raw bulgur
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 16-oz. can whole tomatoes, chopped
1 16-oz. can tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight in 2 quarts water (plus a dash of baking soda).  Rinse and cook in fresh water with the salt.  Cook until tender (about 1 hour).  Reserve 1 cup of bean broth.

In a large saucepan, saute onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and green pepper in olive oil.  Add bulgur, spices, herbs, and 1 cup water.  Mix well and add cooked beans, 1 cup of bean broth, tomatoes, and puree.  Let simmer 45 minutes or until bulgur is softened.  It may be necessary to add more water to determine thickness.  Serve topped with grated mozzarella or cheddar, or sour cream.

This is a good, hearty chili that can be made in stages (cook beans one day, assemble the chili the next),  cooked in the crockpot instead of stovetop, or made ahead and frozen in smaller batches.  I did it in the crockpot, and it filled it literally to the brim.  We've been eating on it for a few days now, and I can vouch for it getting better and better.  If you can't find raw bulgur, you can substitute something else to thicken the sauce I'm sure (rice, barley, etc.)

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