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Peanut Chili

1 lb. unsalted roasted peanuts (4 cups)
1 1/2 Tbs. peanut oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 jalapeno or serrano chilies, seeded and chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbs. chili powder
2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbs. dried
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbs. dried
1 Tbs. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
3 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 7) or 35-oz. can chopped tomatoes with juice
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs. molasses
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Place 1/2 cup peanuts in blender or food processor. Pulse on and
off very briefly until coarsely chopped. Reserve for garnish. Add
remaining peanuts to blender or food processor. Pulse on and off
until nuts are minced and cling together in clumps.

In large heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and
garlic and cook, stirring often, until onions are softened, about
8 minutes. Add celery, carrots, chilies and bell pepper and cook,
stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir in chili powder, oregano, basil, cumin, salt, pepper and
cayenne until well combined. Add minced peanuts, tomatoes, broth
and molasses and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low,
cover and simmer until mixture is slightly thickened and flavors
have blended, about 30 minutes.

Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve hot, sprinkled with reserved
peanuts. Garnish with cheese and cilantro if desired.


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