Black bean chili

Beans are cheap. They’re healthy. And when cooked well, they’re every bit as satisfying at a meat-heavy meal. Throw in a few corn tortillas, some cheese, green onion and that’s all I need. Growing up, vegetarian chili was one of my mom’s stock meals, pulled out when she couldn’t think of anything else to make. Her version involved some chickpeas, kidney beans and tomato sauce. That’s it. Mine is a little bit more complex, but still relatively easy to make. It calls for a lot of ingredients, yes, but they’re mostly the kind most people have in their pantry already. What I love about this version is the layering of flavors. It’s spicy, chocolaty, and slightly sour, a hybrid of curry, mole and barbecue sauce. The flavors, combined with the dark ominous color make it a great meal for a crowd, especially when vegetarians are coming over.

Black bean chili

Ingredients

  • 1-3 cans low sodium black beans
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cans chopped tomato with jalapeno
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 oz dark unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon
  • 2 heaping tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro and chopped scallions to garnish
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preparation
In a large dutch oven, saute onions and garlic in vegetable oil with salt and pepper until translucent. Add spices, cinnamon stick and herbs, and saute to toast. Add beans, tomato, chocolate, ketchup, mustard, molasses, and brown sugar. Stir, cover and cook about 30 minute, checking occasionally to make sure stuff isn’t sticking to the bottom.
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