Chili is one of those recipes where everyone has their own variation on the tomato-beans theme, and yet you rarely have a bad bowl of chili. However you make it, it just *works.* I don’t know that there’s anything especially unique about my chili, but I do think it rises just above the average bowl of the red stuff when I take the time to cook my own beans, instead of using canned beans. And that’s exactly what I did this morning.
I also like to make the chili a day ahead of when I actually plan to eat it, I think the flavors all settle in and get cozy, given some time together. Or maybe it just tastes better the next day when I come home from work and don’t have to cook anything, just reheat, chop some cilantro and serve.
You could easily skip the beef in the chili and go vegetarian – I actually prefer vegetarian chili, but the traditional red meat chili is one of Mark’s favorite meals, so I typically go for the beef, since he generally eats anything I cook without complaint.
1/2 lbs black beans, soaked overnight
1 carrot, cut in half
1 stalk celery
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
Cooking the beans:
Pour the soaked beans and their liquid into a pot, and add enough water so that the beans are covered by water by at least 2 inches. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and bayleaves. Cover the pot, heat on high, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and gently simmer the beans, partially covered, until tender. Drain and reserve for the chili.
Black Bean Chili
6 Weight Watchers points per serving
1 lb lean ground beef, cooked, and drained
1/2 lb dried black beans, cooked as directed above, and drained
1 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
2 Italian fryer peppers, cleaned and diced (substitute 1 green bell pepper)
3 cloves garlic
4 Tb chile con carne seasoning
3 T tomato paste
1 T dried oregano
1 28oz can tomato sauce
1 14oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 Tb chipotle pepper puree
1 cup water
salt to taste
- Cook ground beef in large pot over medium heat, reserve cooked beef and drain off fat and juices. Set aside. Wipe out pot and return to heat.
- Heat pot over medium heat, add 1 T oil, then add onion and peppers. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until onions are softened and translucent. Add garlic, oregano, chile con carne seasoning, tomato paste and stir for a minute or two, until fragrant.
- Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water, chipotle puree and black beans. Stir, and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning if needed. Add beef, stir, and turn burner off. Let chili cool on the stove for a bit, then stash it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.