This dish happened all because of an avocado. The avocado had gotten buried in one of the crisper drawers. The recipe had gotten buried in a food file that it should never have been in. How it turned up in the "Bread and Muffins" file is beyond me!!
Our young friend, Colin, became a vegetarian sometime during his early college years. He was always at our Thanksgiving table until he headed off to Berkeley and grad school. I had to come up with a dish for him. A dish that could be made ahead of time so as to focus on the many other components that go into such a traditional meal.
Backing up to the avocado found lurking in the refrigerator, it seemed to be perfect for a bowl of the vegetarian chili I served to young Colin. Instead of a turkey leg on his plate, he had a bowl of chili alongside the sweet potato soufflé, steamed green beans, dressing and cranberry sauce.
I'm not suggesting you start planning Thanksgiving dinner and include this dish. I am suggesting that it was delicious with the avocado on top. And, it is delicious any day of the year.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz cans red kidney beans
1 15 oz can black beans
1/2 cup red or yellow lentils
1 cup water
1 tsp smokey paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp sugar
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and sauté for three minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans with their liquid, the lentils, water, paprika, chili powder and cumin. Simmer, stirring often, for about 40 minutes. Add salt, pepper and sugar.
2. Serve in warmed bowls topped with a bit of sour cream and avocado.
NOTE: At the very end, I tossed in about a cup of last summer's frozen corn.