Serves 4 with leftovers
Cooked dried beans have a sturdier, meatier texture than canned. Look for beans at a store with good turnover so you’re not buying a bag that’s been sitting on the shelf for years. Fresher beans cook in as little as 1 hour.
|1||pound dried pinto or red kidney beans, or a combination, picked over|
|2||dried guajillo or ancho peppers, stems and seeds removed, torn into pieces|
|¾||cup roasted pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds)|
|2||tablespoons vegetable oil|
|2||large onions, chopped|
|Salt and black pepper|
|4||cloves garlic, finely chopped|
|1||tablespoon chili powder|
|½||teaspoon chipotle powder|
|½||teaspoon ground cumin|
|½||teaspoon dried oregano|
|1||can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes|
|¾||cup grated cheddar|
|Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped|
1. In a large flameproof casserole, place the beans and water to cover by at least 3 inches. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 1 to 2½ hours or until tender. Drain into a colander.
2. Bring a tea kettle of water to a boil. Place the dried chilies in a heatproof bowl. Pour 3 cups boiling water over them and set aside for 15 minutes.
3. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chilies to a food processor. Reserve the soaking water. Add ⅓ cup of the chili soaking liquid and ½ cup of pepitas to the processor. Puree until it forms a thick, ground paste.
4. In the same pan used to cook the beans, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili and chipotle powders, cumin, and oregano. Stir in the chili-pepita paste and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the tomatoes and the remaining 2⅔ cups of chili water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the cooked beans (you should have about 6½ cups). Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. If the chili is very thick, add a little water. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Reserve about 4 cups of chili for the baked potatoes.
6. Ladle the chili into soup bowls. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup pepitas, cheese, and cilantro.