Nov 18, 2013

Black Bean Chili with Lime Cream

I like to cook a pot of beans on Sunday. Especially in the Fall and Winter. It's so easy, it's just a matter of picking through the beans at the beginning of the process. It takes a little while to sort through the beans, basically making sure no rocks sneaked their way in, but I usually take out broken beans too. No need to really, I think I need to justify my work as a bean sorter.

I found this really great recipe that I love, as you can put it to cook for most of your day or afternoon, and it helps warm the home with the scent of food cooking. It's comforting. Then you saute the rest of the veggies with garlic and spices and cook another 20 minutes before you eat. The real star of this dish, though, is the Lime Cream, so please don't leave it out!

This recipe is modified from a great cookbook called "The Flavor of California" by Marlena Spieler. It has a lot of fresh and healthy recipes, and it has a pizza dough recipe, which is always good to keep on hand. I modified it to my preferred mix of vegetables (including using a whole bag as opposed to 8 oz. in original recipe.)

Black Bean Chili with Lime Cream


1 sm bag black beans (16 oz)
8 oz. chicken stock
16 - 23 oz diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh green chile, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp mild chile powder
hot sauce to taste
1/2 lime, zest and juice
4 oz sour cream (or yogurt)


1. Pour beans into a large pot and cover with water. Soak overnight or bring them to a boil, then remove from the heat and allow to soak, covered, for an hour.

2. Drain the beans, then cover with fresh water and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until the beans are tender.

3. Then add the broth and tomatoes, and raise the heat to medium high. Cook until the liquid reduces and thickens, and the beans are beginning to fall apart.

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the garlic, onions, and chili pepper until they soften. Then stir in the spices and cook for a short time to allow them to release their flavors.

Add this mixture to the beans and cook another 20 minutes or so, stirring now and then so beans don't stick to the bottom, and adjust the the liquid so that it is not too soupy nor too thick.

5. Stir the lime zest and juice into the sour cream and allow to sit a little while.

6. Serve the chili into bowls and top with a dollop of lime sour cream. You can also have hot sauce, cilantro, lime juice, avocado, even chips and cheese for people to add to their bowl, according to taste.

We happened to have a ripe avocado on hand when I made this last night, and I squeezed the other half of the lime over it to keep it from turning brown. It also gives the avocado a fresh, citrisy flavor that gave this dish and extra kick. You could leave out the chicken stock and it would be vegetarian. Leave out the cream and might even be vegan.

Writing this post has made me hungry! I think I'll go look for some leftovers of this soup right now.


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