From Robin Robertson’s indispensable “Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker.” (Harvard Commons Press, 2004), a source of several of our family’s favorite winter meals. Without huge bowls of warming, nourishing, satisfying soups like this life in chilly Seattle would be nearly intolerable.
Perfect Hominy White Bean Chili
- 1 tb olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tb chili powder, or more to taste
- 1 jalapeño chile (optional), seeded and chopped [I omit these in deference to the tastes of my wee folk].
- 1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 3 c slow cooked or two 15.5oz cans navy or other white beans, drained and rinsed [I prefer cannellini beans.]
- 1 16 oz can hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1.5 c water
- .5 tsp ground cumin
- .5 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- .25 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tb chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook about 30 seconds longer. [In my skillet the chili powder and crushed garlic stick to the pan a little bit, so instead of adding the tomatoes in step 2 below I deglaze the skillet with the tomatoes. The heat of the skillet toasts some of the sugar in the tomatoes, which results in a sweeter, richer broth.]
Transfer the mixture to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the jalapeño, tomatoes, beans, hominy, water, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper; cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.
Just before serving, stir in the cilantro and taste to adjust the seasonings.
The hominy makes it. Hominy provides both an earthy flavor and satisfying, chewable substance. I admit I sometimes include the little bit of leftover parsnip or butternut squash in the fridge as well. With the exception of onions & garlic everything else is (or can be) canned, saving on prep time.