I know, chili again, so soon? Well, yeah. And this one is even easier than the last one. I've never had chili made with lentils before I tried this recipe. I was a little skeptical at first. I thought it might end up tasting just like lentil soup or something. But no!
I know there are a lot of haters out there when it comes to omni food magazines. I, however, am not one of those people. I've been subscribing to Bon Appetit for over 10 years. Continuously almost, too. And you know what? I've been vegetarian or vegan for the entire time (and then some. ;) ). I've gotten some really great recipes and ideas for different ways to prepare foods that I might not have thought of on my own. I absolutely love food. I love to try some of the trendy flavor groupings and make some really "gourmet" feeling food sometimes. My brain just automatically skips over the stuff that I find gross or just substitutes tofu or seitan in the place of meat in recipes.
But I digress. Why am I yammering on about food magazines? Because that's where I found this lentil chili recipe, that's why! Specifically from Bon Appetit's Green Issue (February 2008). It was even already vegan, I didn't have to substitute a thing. And that's pretty darn cool. (Though I must say, I'm unsure why they felt the need to add the "with Cumin" part to the recipe name. That's kinda weird since most chili has that in the first place.)
Don't be fooled by the minimal ingredients. I almost added a few more things as I was cooking, but then I was glad I didn't. I think the simplicity of the ingredients is what makes the flavors really shine.
Lentil Chili with Cumin and Green Onions
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (add more to make it hotter)
4 cups (or more) water
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed (I used green ones)
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp chopped green onions
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano leaves, and cayenne pepper; stir for 30 seconds. Add the 4 cups of water, lentils, and tomato puree. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam from the surface. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls as needed if dry, about 30 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup green onions. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the chili among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and serve.