Black Bean Stew with Tempeh



1 large white onion (diced)
3 carrots (peeled and diced)
3 stalks of celery (diced)
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder (more if you like it hot)
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 quart of cooked black beans (about four cups or three 15-ounce cans)
1 8-ounce jar of tomato paste
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar (on the sweet side)
1 8-ounce package of tempeh
salt to taste (optional)

In a large heavy duty sauce pan or chili pot add water, spices and aromatics (onions, carrots, and celery) and sauté until vegetables are tender.
Add the beans, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar; bring to a boil, reduce the heat cover with a lid and simmer for five minutes.
Slice the tempeh in thin strips.
OPTIONAL STEP: Before adding the tempeh to the bean mixture you can brush the tempeh with a little more balsamic vinegar and grill them in a screaming hot grill pan or a cast iron frying pan. It will bring a smokey charred taste to the stew. This step is not necessary but adds a lovely flavor to the stew if you have time.
Add the tempeh to the simmering chili.
Continue simmering the stew, covered for 20 to 30 minutes or until all of the flavors are blended. Adjust the seasonings with a little more salt and pepper to taste and serve with your favorite cornbread or tortillas.

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