Created in partnership with Garden of Eatin’, a hearty pinto bean chili with a flavorful tomato base flecked with leeks, chili peppers, and hominy and topped with a delicious array of fresh cilantro, lime wedges, sliced avocado and radish, and delightfully crunchy corn chips.
My daughters and I have been talking lots of walks this winter. Before sunset, we’ll grab coats and mittens and head out to take in the season and the changing environment. We pause to notice the very first tree buds or the swollen river after a week of heavy rains. We even saw a beaver for the first time, just walking across the path. Despite my habitual impatience, I try to stop along the way and give them time to explore the natural world.
Sometimes our late afternoon walks stretch until it’s nearly dark. On these evenings, it’s nice to have a quick, hearty dinner option that I can get to table in just minutes. I’ve long relied on casseroles and stews for this, but recently I’ve discovered the effortless magic of chili. Heartier than a stew, but just as easy to reheat, chili can be dressed up with fresh herbs, thinly sliced vegetables, pickles, and crunchy corn chips in a way that keeps things fresh, even if you’re eating leftovers.
My favorite chili-topping chips are Garden of Eatin’ Organic Corn Chips, which come in three varieties, each distinctly delicious — Organic Corn Chips with Sea Salt, Organic BBQ Black Bean Corn Chips, and Organic Blue Corn Chips. They add a crunchy, toothsome texture to chili that comes through in each bite. Besides the great flavor and texture, I love that Garden of Eatin’ chips are non-GMO and have a short, totally pronounceable list of ingredients.
Though Garden of Eatin’ chips play a starring role in this dish, I wanted to create a pinto bean chili base filled with tons of flavor. Late February isn’t the greatest time for fresh produce here in the East, so I indulged in a few bell and chili peppers from afar, along with smoky canned chipotle peppers for depth. Leeks and radishes lend wintery notes to the chili, as well as a bit of color. Pinto beans cook up wonderfully in a flavorful broth punctuated with whole canned tomatoes and chewy corn hominy. Lastly, the chili is topped with fresh cilantro leaves, sliced avocado and radishes, and a pile of crispy Garden of Eatin’ Organic Corn Chips with Sea Salt.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, carefully rinsed and chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded, stemmed, and diced
- 2 - 3 hot red or green chilies (such as jalapeño, serrano, or Anaheim), seeded, stemmed, and diced (*see note)
- 2 - 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 1/4 cup sauce
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground cumin seed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 28- ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth or water
- 1 25- ounce can hominy **see note
- 2 15.5-ounce cans pinto beans or 1 3/4 cups dry beans cooked until tender
- 3 radishes, sliced paper thin
- 1 avocado, sliced thin
- 3 green onions, julienned
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 (8.25- ounce) bag Garden of Eatin' Organic Corn Chips with Sea Salt
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot or large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and leeks and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Fold in peppers and chilies and sauté 5 minutes more. Stir in chipotle peppers and sauce, spices, sea salt, tomatoes (crush the whole tomatoes with your hand as you add them), and broth. Bring to a gentle boil, then fold in hominy and beans. Turn heat down to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 - 30 minutes. Taste, and add sea salt to taste.
If mixture thickens too much, add a splash of broth or water.
Ladle chili into bowls and layer with radishes, avocado, green onions, lime, and a generous handful of corn chips. Serve immediately.
*Depending on how spicy you like your chili, opt for mild or spicy chilies. The Anaheim pepper lends flavor without too much heat, while jalapeño and serrano chilies can be spicy. Likewise, the canned chipotle peppers can amp up the heat. If you're not sure, add 1 or 2, simmer and taste, and add a third if needed.
**Canned corn hominy is available in the canned chili and salsa section at specialty and Mexican grocers.