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Anytime I page through it (which is often) I am inspired by Deborah Madison’s bible like work, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  It is an amazingly thorough work with descriptions of how to do such things as preparing dried beans to cook with, breaking down more obscure grains, and of course a healthy section of soup and stews that include some chilis.  The book is 12 years old, a James Beard Award winner, and indespensible to me in inspiration at the stove and with the pen.  This recipe was inspired by one of her chilis in this book.

prep time: 10-15 minutes
cooking time: 35-40 minutes
servings: approximately 6

2 tblsp. olive oil
5 garlic cloves, chopped
3 large onions, chopped
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green or yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
1 tblsp. cumin
1 tblsp. chili powder
2 tsp. smoked/regular paprika
1 chipotle pepper (from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce)
2 tsp. – 1 tblsp adobo sauce (from same can above)
1/2 can tomato paste
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 14oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
avocado slices, sour cream, cheese, handful of chopped cilantro

In a large pot (I like to use my Fontignac enameled cast iron pot) on med-high, heat olive oil.  Add garlic, onions, fresh peppers, and cook till softened (about 10 minutes).  While softening, add in salt and pepper, and cook till veggies are aromatic and onions transluscent.  Add in cumin, chili powder, paprika, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and tomato paste.  Stir and let veggies and spices infuse each other with their flavors for another 5 minutes or so.  Adjust heat to medium so nothing burns.  Add in the cans of tomatoes and beans.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to low, cover (letting a crack open so steam escapes), and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with slices of avocado, sour cream, cheese, and a sprinkle of cilantro.