When Arbor Teas reached out to collaborate on a creative project using a tea of my choice, I thought it would be fun to try and create a recipe with one of their teas. It's still winter here in the northeast, and I decided to make something warm and comforting. I like creating variations on chili, as it's easily whipped up for a crowd, and the flavors can be tinkered with. I like to make mine with at least two different kinds of beans, and a sweet potato. Ok, so this isn't exactly a traditional chili recipe, but trust me, it works. To give my chili added comfort, I decided to use Arbor Teas lapsang souchong. The powerful flavor of this tea becomes a subtle smoky addition to the chili, similar to smoked paprika. The Littlest Tea Critic and I made this over the weekend, and I think she ate more of it than anyone else. She gives is a big thumbs up, which is a huge endorsement!
The Tea Happiness Smoky Lapsang Vegetarian Chili
2 15oz cans of beans, rinsed (I like to use kidney and cannelini, but it's your choice)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, seeds removed, chopped (these are often be found in small cans)
1 carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced (about 1.5 cups)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/8 tsp cinnamon
A splash of red wine vinegar (about a tablespoon)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup water
2 tsp lapsang souchong (I used this one from Arbor Teas)
Add the lapsang souchong to a small bowl or mug. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil (you can do this in a kettle), pour over the tea and steep for 8 minutes. Strain and set aside.
In a dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium/high until hot, add garlic, carrot, celery, and onion and cook until soft. Add sweet potato and about 1 tsp salt and a pinch (or a few grinds) of pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes more.
Add the drained beans, chopped chipotle, chili powder and cinnamon. Stir well. Add in the steeped tea, vegetable broth, and red wine vinegar. Everything should be covered in the liquid, so add a little more broth (or water) if necessary. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Keep the pot mostly covered- I like to leave a little space for the steam to escape and let the broth reduce a bit. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired (I like to add quite a bit of salt to mine, but not everyone agrees).
I like to serve my chili on a bed of rice, but you can use it top nachos, or add in a taco or quesadilla, whatever you feel like. It freezes really well too, which is nice if you want to plan ahead.
Do you cook with tea? If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes! You can sub out any of the ingredients or add in more vegetables. Get creative with your chili, but don't forget to add tea. It's great for the winter weather, but also light enough for an early spring evening.
Speaking of tea, if you're interested in trying the Arbor Teas lapsang souchong, stay tuned! Next week I will be posting a giveaway where you can win a bag of this versatile tea.