Mexican Tortilla Chili

Recipe courtesy Jane Butel, "Chili Madness":

Mexican Tortilla Chili

For the Chili Broth:

8 large tomatoes, stemmed

2 large Spanish onions, peeled and halved

6 large Mexican garlic cloves, peeled

1 quart chicken or vegetable broth (canned is fine)

1 teaspoon chipotle powder, or 2 dried chipotles, reconstituted

1 piece (2 inches) cinnamon, preferably canela

Salt (optional)

For the chili vegetables:

2 pounds butternut squash (1 medium squash), peeled seeded and cubed

1 teaspoon ground dried Mexican Oregano

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), with liquid

1 small bunch Swiss chard, stemmed, sliced into 1-inch-wide ribbons (about one cup)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For serving:
Corn tortillas, warmed (optional)

Prepare the broth: Score an X into the bottom of each tomato, cutting just through the skin. Place the tomatoes, onions and garlic on a heavy griddle over medium-high heat and cook, turning, until the vegetables char on all sides, about 10 minutes. (Remove the garlic as soon as it brown a bit.) Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set them aside.

Place the chicken broth in a large Dutch oven or small stockpot over high heat. Add the chipotle power and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the tomatoes, Chop the onions, removing any blackened spots, and mince the garlic.

Add the tomatoes, onions, and garlic to the broth, along with the canela. Simmer to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes. Remove the canela, taste the broth, and adjust the seasonsings as needed, adding salt if desired. Keep warm.

Prepare the chili vegetables: Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the squash and oregano, cover the pan, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the black beans, garbanzo beans, chard, and cumin and cook, uncovered, until the chard is limp and tender, about ten minutes. Drain the vegetables, reserving the cooking water.

Cut the lime into quarters or sixths, depending on the number of servings. Squeeze a wedge of lime into the bottom of each individual bowl. Divide the vegetables among the bowls, and ladle the broth over them, covering the vegetables. (if the broth has become too stewlike, use the reserved vegetable cooking liquid o think it to a soupier consistency.) Serve with warm corn tortillas, if desired.

Notes: before using dried chipotles, you must reconstitute them. to do so on the stovetop, place them in a small pot and add a dash of vinegar and water to just cover. Simmer them over low heat until soft, 30 minutes. Alternatively, place the chipotles, vinega4 and water in a quart-size microwave safe liquid measuring cup, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on full power for 5 minutes.

When the chilies are fork-tender, discard the water (or reserve it for later use in marinades and salad dressings) and mince the chiles.

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