Bean and Barley Chili

I enjoy soups and stews year ’round, but this pleasantly cool weather makes me want to hunker down with a stick to your ribs kinda meal. But, stick to your ribs sometimes also means, stick to your thighs {if you smell what i’m cooking}.  This recipe is vegetarian, and very low in fat.  I might be so bold as to say, Guilt Free.  It uses dried beans, so it will cost you a bit of time in the soaking, but is well worth it.

I make a huge pot and freeze the leftovers; mainly because Mike is a meat eater.  Say vegetarian chili to him, and all he hears is “I didn’t make dinner tonight.”

Bean and Pearl Barley Chili

1 bag 15 bean soup mix–beans only * save the flavor packet for something else
water for soaking beans
1 onion– diced
2 celery ribs–diced
2 carrots–diced
1 pasilla chile–diced
1 cup mushrooms–diced
1/4 cup chili spice mix
1/4 tsp cayenne
4 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup pearl barley –uncooked
6 cups liquid * I use 4 cups vegetable broth ad 2 cups beer
1 generous Tablespoon grated bittersweet chocolate
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the bean in water overnight or use whatever method you are most comfortable with for softening dried beans.  Drain.  In a heavy stock pot, cook onions, celery carrots, pasilla, and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, until they soften and just begin to brown.  Toss in chili spice and cayenne and give it a turn or two to coat everything.  Add the pearl barley and stir to coat.  Stir in the tomato paste, liquid, and chocolate, then toss in the beans and cook until they and the barley are tender.  It should take about an hour over medium heat.  Do not let boil, just simmer.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with all your favorite chili fixins.

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