In this chili recipe, butternut squash and okra, which is high in Vitamin C, helps the body absorb the iron available in the beans.
3 cups dried kidney beans
1 (2- to 3-inch) piece kombu (sea vegetable sold in Asian grocery stores and online)
5 cups water
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
4 stalks celery, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 jalapeño chile, minced
1/4 cup minced garlic
8 ounces okra, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, pureed with juices
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 tablespoons blended chili powder
2 tablespoons rubbed dried sage
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup tamari
Rinse and pick over beans. Put them in a large, heavy pot with kombu and enough cold water to cover beans by 3 inches. Soak beans and kombu overnight, then drain and rinse.
Return beans and kombu to same pot, add 5 cups water and bay leaf. Bring to simmer over high heat, skimming foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
While beans are simmering, heat oil in a large, heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, sauté until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, celery, bell peppers, jalapeño chile and garlic, sauté about 5 minutes longer, until the bell peppers are crisp-tender. Add okra, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, sage, salt and crushed red pepper. Stir in beans with their cooking liquid and vegetable stock.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer, or until the chili thickens and flavors blend.
Stir in cilantro and tamari just before serving.
pairs perfectly with Garlicky Greens and Southern-Style Corn Bread