Monday, May 05, 2008

Recipe: Quick and Easy Black Bean Chili with Canned Black Beans, Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, and Corn

Quick and Easy Black Bean Chili - FarmgirlFare.comComfort food with a fiesta flair that's vegetarian friendly & makes a great dip, too.

Just (barely) in time for Cinco de Mayo. Is it black bean soup? Is it black bean chili? Is it even Mexican? Who cares—let's eat!

Here's another spur-of-the-moment recipe I came up with one day after poking around in the pantry and looking at stuff languishing in the fridge. Whether you call it black bean soup or black bean chili or simply 'that black bean stuff,' it's quick, easy, delicious, low fat, and good for you—my kind of meal.

As I slurped up test spoonfuls from the first simmering pot, I thought of how much my cilantro loving foodie mom would probably enjoy it and decided I would freeze some for her upcoming visit. I divided the big batch into two different containers, and then over the next few days proceeded to devour them both. This stuff is really good.

It's also the perfect kind of thing to have on hand when you find yourself grabbing snacks and meals at all hours of the day because you're knee-deep in lambing season, or something equally as schedule-wrecking and time consuming. A quick bowl reheated on the stove or in the microwave and you're good to go for hours. One day I even had it for breakfast.

Like most soups and chilis, this one tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge, so I recommend cooking it up ahead of time if you can. I did end up making another batch for my mother while she was here last month, and she loved it, but when she tasted it the second day the first thing she said was, "I think it might have too much flavor."

Too much flavor? I did add a tablespoon of chili powder to her batch, so if you're the kind of person who can be easily overflavored, you might want to leave it out and/or reduce the other seasonings.

I realize that a steaming bowl of hearty black bean soup or chili isn't everybody's idea of late spring fare, but I'm running a little behind with the whole sharing seasonal recipes thing (so what else is new?), and I figured I could slide this one in under the guise of it being for Cinco de Mayo.

Besides, it even tastes good cold as a dip with tortilla chips. And if I ever get any heirloom tomatoes planted in my kitchen garden this year, I plan to enjoy it topped with lots of fresh chopped garden tomatoes come summer. Olé!


Farmgirl Susan's Quick & Easy Black Bean Chili
Makes about 10 cups

**Click here to print this recipe**

The spices play a big role in this dish, so use the freshest you can find. I've been ordering mine in bulk for years from Ameriherb in Iowa.

Whole cumin and coriander seeds will last much longer than pre-ground; just use an electric coffee/spice grinder (not the one you use for coffee!) to grind up a little at a time. If you've never ground your own spices you won't believe the flavor difference. I use a small piece of bread or a spoonful of rice to clean the grinder out.

The chicken stock adds richness and protein, but you could easily make this vegetarian by adding more tomatoes (canned or chopped fresh), not draining the black beans, or simply using water (I'd start with one cup rather than two) instead.

2010 Update: CarebearNJ writes, Just made this for a Super Bowl party. My fiancé said he'd been worried about a vegetarian chili tasting right but that this recipe was the best chili he'd had in years! I added one minced chipotle and a teaspoon of the adobo sauce and used water instead of stock.

A jar of roasted red peppers is a tasty addition, and if I had any Aconcagua peppers from the garden left in the freezer I would have chopped up a few handfuls and tossed them in. Fire-roasted or spicy tomatoes would kick things up a notch.

If you're serving this to guests, offer several toppings and let everyone have fun piling them high and personalizing their bowls. As always, I urge you to seek out organic and local ingredients; they really do make a difference. I really like Eden Organic canned beans, which

I haven't bought canned corn in years, but a few months ago I saw that Libby's was selling cans of organic sweet corn, decided to give it a try, and found myself nibbling on niblets straight from the can.

2 to 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow or white onions
(about 1 pound), chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoon cumin powder, preferably freshly ground
1 Tablespoon chili powder
(optional)
1 teaspoon coriander, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon salt
3 15-ounce cans organic black beans,
drained & rinsed (or not)
1 24-ounce can organic chopped tomatoes
1 jar roasted red peppers or a few handfuls of chopped fresh or frozen sweet pepper
(optional)
2 cups organic chicken stock, preferably homemade (or vegetable stock or water—start with just 1 cup water)
3/4 to 1 cup (packed) chopped cilantro
1 15¼-ounce can organic corn
, drained

Toppings:
Shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
Diced avocado or guacamole
Sour cream, cottage cheese, or yogurt
Your favorite salsa
Chopped cilantro
Chopped scallions
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped sweet red peppers


Heat oil in a large pot then add onions and cook on medium high, stirring often, until soft and starting to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Make a space in the center of the pot and add the garlic, stirring so it all touches the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the cumin, corander, paprika, & salt and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, peppers (if using), and chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer with the lid barely cracked, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how much time you have. Stir in the cilantro.

Purée with an immersion blender until still slightly chunky, less than 5 seconds. (I love my KitchenAid hand blender.) Or transfer about two-thirds of the soup in batches to a countertop blender and very carefully purée, then return to the pot. Stir in the corn and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve hot, topped as desired.

Other serving ideas: eat hot or cold as a dip with tortilla chips; put it in quesadillas or burritos; spread it over tortilla chips for super sloppy gloppy nachos; serve it atop a mound of rice.

Hungry for more Tex Mex recipes?
You might also enjoy my Fiesta Cottaqe Cheese Veggie Dip or Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw, Easy Vegetarian Tacos & High Kickin' Creamy Tomato Dressing.

How about some homemade bread to go with that?
Beyond Easy Beer Bread (my most popular recipe!)
Savory Feta Cheese & Scallion Scones
Easy Rosemary Focaccia with White Wine & Pecorino Romano
Oatmeal Toasting Bread (makes great rolls and burger buns, too)

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the always up for eating foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres—and we don't need a holiday to declare that it's fiesta time (which is good since this one is practically over).

12 comments:

  1. I have to stop reading your recipes at night. My stomach is growling.

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  2. i don't care what season it is, i'd like a bowl or two of this. black beans rock my world, and cilantro...oh, cilantro. i think i'm in love.

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  3. This looks really good, no matter what you decide to call it! And I definitely agree with you 100% about using whole herbs and spices whenever possible. It makes a huge difference in the final dish. Thanks for participating in this week's Weekend Herb Blogging!

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  4. This is just how I like to cook. It sounds delicious; black beans and cilantro are two of my favorite ingredients!

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  5. This sounds unbelievably delicious. Since we're scheduled for 10 days of rain and cold (I'm sorry, was it supposed to be MAY?), I will definitely be making this for a hearty coupladozen meals.

    And kudos to you for always recommending the organic/local approach!

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  6. This sounds pretty tasty.

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  7. Oh my word. Thanks, I'm trying this.

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  8. Wow Susan this looks delicious! I can't wait to try it and a whole bunch of your recipes. Your blog is such a great escape. :)
    Becca

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  9. Hi Susan,
    your blog is really lovely, interesting, and fun... and I'm wondering if you would care to contribute something to our new website:
    www.chefswithoutfrontiers.com

    Maybe a reprint of one of your blogs, or something new. We concentrate on interesting stories around eating, cooking, entertaining, and everything food - not so much recipes, although they are welcome if they are a part of a story. We'd love to have your presence on the site, and we certainly would link back to your blog with pleasure!

    all the best,
    Michele Kadison
    info@chefswithoutfrontiers.com

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  10. I tried this recipe and gave some to my friends. They said it was the best chili they ever had!! I used 1/2 jar of organic fire roasted red peppers and it gave it a lovely smoky flavor. Your recipes are always so perfect and delicious!

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  11. Just made this for a Superbowl party (ok, just my fiance and I). He said he'd been worried about a vegetarian chili tasting right but that this recipe was the best chili he'd had in years!

    I added one minced chipotle and a teaspoon of the adobo sauce. I used my immersion blender, but only a tiny bit as I wanted more chili consistency than soup. Also, I used water instead of stock. Served with fresh corn bread, sour cream and lots of cilantro, delicious!

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  12. This looks amazing!

    One for the menu plan later this month.

    :)

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