Vegetable Chili

Vegetable Chili

3/4 cup olive oil
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 large red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 can (35 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, with their juice
1 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoons good-quality chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, drained
1 cup canned chick-peas (garbanzos), drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 scallions (green onions), white bulb and 3 inches green, sliced on the diagonal

1. Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, and saute until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a large flameproof casserole or dutch oven.

2. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil in the skillet over low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Saute until just wilted, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the casserole, along with the oil remaining in the skillet.

3. Place the casserole over low heat. Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, the fresh tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, fennel seeds, and parsley. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, for 30 minutes.

4. Stir in the kidney beans, chick-peas, dill and lemon juice; cook for another 15 minutes. Stir well, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with bowls of sour cream, grated cheese, and sliced scallions alongside.

Source: The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins