There are not many naturally-occurring black food items that I am comfortable serving to my family. Typically, when a long-forgotten item at the back of the fridge turns black, I am ceremoniously dump it into the garbage can, nose plugged and face screwed up into an unattractive mask. We did take a shot at growing Black Krim heirloom tomatoes this year (which are not really black), but when you pack your garden bed as full as a Tokyo subway at rush hour, there are going to be some casualties amidst the fight for sunlight and water. In our kitchen, black beans rose to the top of the black food pecking order with ease. My youngest son’s favorite lunch is a simple black bean, cheese, and cilantro burrito. Given that he gets a healthy dose of protein and fiber from the beans, I am more than happy to oblige a couple of days per week. Of course, black beans are not just relegated to the role of side dish or filler in Mexican dishes. They can be highlighted in salad, soup, chili, and dips.
When I found out that the babysitter taking care of my kids for a couple of days is vegetarian, I set out to find a great vegetarian chili recipe. I scoured the web, asked friends on Twitter, and poured over my cookbooks. While I found many fantastic options and now have a host of links from my friends’ favorite recipes (thank you!), I decided to go with an option a little closer to home. Last fall, I made my Smoky Turkey Chili with Chipotle Peppers, and Black and White Beans for the first time. It was an instant hit with my family and readers. Instead of re-creating the wheel, I simply removed the turkey meat and white beans from that recipe, tripled the amount of blacks beans, substituted vegetable for chicken broth, and poured in a bag of frozen corn. The result was a smoky, hearty vegetarian chili with a kick.
Heat canola oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until tender and light brown, about 10 minutes. Add ground cumin and dried oregano.
Stir for 30 seconds, then add chopped garlic cloves. Stir for an additional 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chili powder, bay leaves, unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Chop tomatoes from a large can of whole tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the juices. Mix in tomato paste, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers can), and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Drain and rinse black beans, and add to the chili, along with frozen corn. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
Ladle chili into bowl, and serve with sour cream and chopped cilantro.
Other vegetarian chili recipes:
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes (including juices)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
- 2 tsp adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)
- 3 cups low-salt vegetable broth
- 3 (15 oz. each) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen corn kernels (no need to defrost)
- Sour cream
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat canola oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and light brown, about 10 minutes. Add cumin and oregano. Stir for 30 seconds, then add garlic cloves. Stir for an additional 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon. Chop tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the juices. Mix in tomato paste, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves.
- Add black beans and frozen corn kernels to the chili. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
- Ladle chili into bowl, and serve with sour cream and chopped cilantro.