This also is a technique you can apply to any of your favorite chili recipes. Making sure that each category of ingredients (vegetables, aromatics, liquids, etc.) is fully seasoned before adding the other ingredients to the pot is the key to the rich, almost bottomless flavor. Just be prudent with the salt, as it will assert itself in every layer and you want to make sure that the chili is well seasoned but not over-salted.
FIRE-ROASTED TOMATO AND
@text1_r:Be sure to serve this amazing chili with a skillet of hot cornbread and a fresh green salad. To speed up this recipe, roast the garlic ahead of time. Once cooled, it can be refrigerated for a day or two.
Start to finish: 11/2 hours (30 minutes active)
1 large head garlic
1 pound sliced button mushrooms
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes
Two 10-ounce cans Rotel tomatoes (tomatoes with mild roasted green chilies)
141/2-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
11/2 cups cooked black beluga lentils (or one 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed)
15-ounce can chili beans
12-ounce bottle beer
6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 to 3 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
2 to 3 teaspoons ancho chili powder
5 to 10 shakes hot sauce, or to taste (optional)
Ground black pepper
Chopped scallions, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and oyster crackers, to serve
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Remove the outer layer of papery skin from garlic. Slice off the top 1/2-inch from pointy top of the head. Drizzle with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Wrap the garlic in foil, then roast for 40 minutes, or until the cloves are golden-brown and soft. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high, heat a healthy splash of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and a pinch of salt.