Posted the morning after some parts of the US received near record-breaking amounts of snow! And, yes, "Winter Night Chili" was the original title, as copied from a local newspaper, decades ago. How apropos!
*LuAnn's TNT (vegetarian) version of the recipe has undergone extensive revisions through the years, all noted below.
Makes about 8 hearty and warming (2-cup) servings
for the Chili:
1 Tablespoons (reduced from 1/4 cup)
2 large onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, divided use (original recipe did not divide, rather added them, straight from the can, to the chili)
1 cup water (I added, to compensate for drained liquid; may need more to obtain desired consistency)
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes (original recipe used canned plum tomatoes)
1 (12-ounce) bag frozen (or thawed) Morninstar Farms Griller Recipe Crumbles (see link photo below; original recipe used browned ground beef)
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin (I added)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I omit, although I wouldn't if certain family members didn't have a wimpy tolerance to spicy foods)
1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
Salt to taste (original recipe had 2 1/2 teaspoons)
for the Garnish:
Shredded Cheddar cheese (I no longer add cheese, although I do serve with non-dairy sour cream)
Tortilla or corn chips (I added)
In a large, saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil.
Sauté the onions, peppers and garlic in the oil until tender.
Meanwhile, in a blender, purée ONE can of the beans with 1 cup of water. (See Parting Shots)
Rinse and drain the remaining 3 cans of beans.
Stir the pureed AND undrained beans, as well as all the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT salt and garnishes, into the saucepan.
Over high heat, bring chili to a boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes (original recipe said 1 hour), stirring occasionally.
If the chili seems too thick, add additional water, 1/4 cup at a time, until chili reaches desired consistency.
Season to taste with salt.
Garnish individual servings with cheese (if using) and onions.
Serve with tortilla or corn chips.
Source: The South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana); extensively revised, as noted above, by LuAnn Bermeo for KRT.