Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Black Bean Chili

Dinner Tuesday night was this black bean chili. I was inspired by Lighter Quicker Better (a book by Richard Sax and Marie Simmons) and their recipe for black bean chili over a baked sweet potato. I'm not a huge fan of sweets on their own, but in this combo, they were great. I suppose you could also chop up the sweet potatoes and add them right into the chili, but then you'd miss out on the gorgeous contrast of the black beans against the bright orange sweet potatoes.

Black Bean Chili with Sweet Potatoes
This recipe makes enough for 4 to 6 servings - I'd suggest making a double batch if you have room in the freezer.
  • small sweet potatoes, one per serving
  • oil for sauteing
  • 2 cups chopped onion, about 2 medium
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 or 4 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more or less, to taste)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups cooked black beans, with some of their cooking liquid (cooked from about 1 1/2 cups dry beans, or 2 19 ounce cans of beans, undrained)
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • lime
  • cilantro
  • sour cream (lowfat is fine, not nonfat though, please!)
Wash the sweet potatoes, poke each one a few time with a fork, and place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven. Let bake while you are making the chili. Depending on the size and age of your potatoes, this will take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Give a potato a gentle squeeze: if it feels yielding and baked through, they're done.

Make the chili: In a small stockpot, saute the onions with a sprinkle of salt in olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute them until they are softened and turning translucent, about ten minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Saute until fragrant, about five minutes (you'll smell the chili powder and cumin as they cook). Add the garlic and saute another two minutes.

Add the black beans and tomatoes and bring chili to a simmer. Let the chili simmer, over low heat, for 20-30 minutes, until it looks thickened and stew-like. Stir occasionally to make sure the chili isn't sticking. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.

Serve the chili alongside a split sweet potato, garnished with chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a dollop of sour cream.

1 comment:

Julia said...

You could always mash the sweets with, say, sage and roasted garlic and a dash of espresso (that's actually nonni's trick for too-sweet things) and pipe them onto the chili like shepherd's pie.

I mean, not necessarily. It's a thought.

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