In honor of these last few brisk March days, how about a hardy bowl of black bean chili?
Black Bean Chili
1 pound dried black turtle beans (~2 cups) (or 5 cups canned)
3 quarts water (or as needed for soaking beans)
2-3 Bay leaves
3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large mild chile (Anaheim or Poblano, e.g.), chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeds and veins removed, diced (use milder chilies to reduce heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup roasted corn
3 cups broth or tomato juice
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano (or 2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped)
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1-4 teaspoons chipotle powder (the more you use, the hotter it will be!)
1½ Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 green onions, chopped or ¼ cup minced fresh chives
½ cup sour cream
- If using canned beans, skip to Step 2. If using dried beans, rinse the beans then soak overnight, covering with 2 or more inches of water. The next day, drain then refill with water, covering to at least 2 inches deep. Add the Bay leaves and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered over low heat, for 3-4 hours, until tender. The beans will split open. Stir occasionally and add more water as needed. Another option, an easier one that we use, is to cook the soaked & rinsed beans in a crock pot. ~7 hours on High or ~9 hours on Low is usually sufficient.
- Heat the oil in a large cooking pot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the herbs & spices, sauté another 2 minutes, then add the sugar, salt, peppers, chilies, tomatoes, and garlic and heat until it just begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Add liquid, allow mixture to cool and then puree in a food processor to blend until fairly smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion mixer while the mixture is still hot.
- Add the puree to the beans and corn and then heat to a mild boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Adjust seasonings if needed. The soup will be very thick.
- Remove the Bay leaves before serving. Garnish with chopped green onions or chives and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with oyster crackers.
NOTE: You can use other bell peppers in the recipe in place of the ones indicated. For example, you could use all green peppers or use an orange pepper instead. This is a hot chili. You can temper the heat by using smoked paprika in place of the chipotle powder and/or by reducing the amount of jalapenos that you use. There are also some not-so-spicy jalapeno varieties out there that will give you the good chili flavor without the heat.
This recipe can be downloaded as a printable .pdf file HERE.
Although the black turtle bean originated in southern Mexico and Central America over 7,000 years ago, it is now grown all over the world. Eden Foods sells an organic variety grown right here in Michigan. If you are looking to reduce the amount of meat in your diet, black beans are a very good substitute. A cup of black beans will provide you with 15.2 grams of protein (that’s 30.5% of the daily value for protein), plus 74.8% of the daily value for fiber. All this for a cost of only 227 calories with virtually no fat.