Monday, November 30, 2009

(Mostly) Black Bean Chili

My favorite spices are cumin and cilantro (coriander) without a doubt. I adore them, relish them, and all my culinary dreams center around them. We've also been eating a lot of beans lately, and our all-time favorite bean is the black bean. We have black beans in veggie enchiladas, on top of nachos, in Indian dishes, and, sadly enough, Matt tops his hot dogs with them.

So it is only fitting, as the winter chill sets in, that I should make a black bean chili loaded with cilantro and cumin. This chili calls for all black beans, but I threw in a can of pink beans JUST TO GO A BIT CRAZY! We do not discriminate when it comes to beans.

This chili is meatless and takes no more than 30 minutes to cook: perfect for a quickie pantry meal after a long day at work. It's also delicious, has a terrific balance of spice, and can be made without the heat by omitting the cayenne pepper. We served with honey corn muffins I found in Real Simple, but I think it would even be better with tortilla chips (oops, that's another thing we love!).

Black Bean Chili
  • olive oil, for sauteing
  • 2 medium to large onions, chopped
  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved (or a mixture of black beans and pink)
  • 1 32-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-ounce can hominy (optional)
  • cilantro to taste (We adore cilantro; I used about 1 cup chopped and very loosely packed, and then topped with additional cilantro.)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté until onions soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir 2 minutes. Mix in beans, 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid, hominy (if using), and diced tomatoes. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Top with cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese, and scallions. Gobble up!

Chopping set-up. All the peels go in the compost pail, which is a nice change from the fruit fly-laden jar Matt used to keep. Thank you, Crate & Barrel.

Muffins out of the oven.

Makes awesome leftovers.

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