And now for something completely different! This is a great recipe that I originally got from an old knitting friend. Her blog post on the subject – actually her entire blog – seems to have disappeared, so I can’t credit her properly. But it’s originally hers and I just altered it to my taste. I periodically get requests for the recipe – I’d originally posted it on one of my old blogs and I’m finally moving it over here/editing it, so people can find it!
You will see a range of ingredient amounts. If you use the smaller amount, it will make enough for a hungry family of 3-4 to eat at least two dinners with an individual lunch or two left over, or for that family to have some dinner guests. If you use the larger amount, that’s where the “for days” part comes in, and trust me, it really is FOR DAYS unless you have like, 12 people in your family. Also? Sure, cooking is chemistry, but unlike working in a lab (or baking), you can totally wing it. Plus, you don’t need goggles or a lab coat. Which may or may not be a plus, depending on your views about lab coats and goggles. Personally, I think they add a little something to any occasion, but I digress.
The point is, if you have other veggies threatening to die, hey, throw ‘em in. Ingredients and amounts are relative. The recipe as written is sort of my starting point, but it’s a little different every time
1-2 containers of stock
1 medium or very large yellow onion
2-4 carrots, chopped small
2-4 celery sticks, chopped small
3 TBS olive oil (ish)
1-2 green bell peppers, chopped
1-2 yellow, orange or red bell peppers, chopped
1-2 cans of corn OR 2-3 ears, just cut the niblets off the cob OR frozen corn will work
2-3 sweet potatoes
1-2 cans of Ortega diced green chilies
1-3 regular cans of S&W diced tomatoes
3-6 cans of S&W black beans OR you can make your own from dried. I don’t have time.
1.5 – 3 TBS cumin*
1.5 – 3 tsp chili powder*
1- 2 tsp. oregano*
NOTE: You can use vegetable OR chicken stock OR water – amount is variable, some folks like thick soup, others prefer it thinner. Go for what you like.
OPTIONAL: 1-3 (or more) chipotle peppers en adobo. I like it better when it is spicy and redolent of smoky chipotle goodness. Some folks are not so down with the chipotle. Follow your bliss.
Make a mirepoix (chop your onions, carrots and celery into small bits), and saute that in olive oil. When that is nice and the onions are starting to soften, add the peppers, and sweet potato.
Saute this for a bit until the peppers soften. Then add your diced green chilies, chipotle and spices, half the can of tomatoes, the corn and your beans (drain well if using canned), reserving 1 can or 2 cans and half the tomatoes (amount to reserve entirely depending on if you are making the small or large version of this) and your stock.
Stir well, bring to a boil and then turn it down to simmer and walk away for an hour or so. Do some homework. Blog. Clean something. Maybe take a moment to wash your laundry. Maybe come back and give it a stir once in a while so it doesn’t stick, but otherwise you can just go get distracted for a bit.
About 40 minutes before you want to serve, get out your food processor and give the remaining beans and the diced tomatoes a whir, then add those to the soup. This will make it thicker and almost creamy in consistency. Cook another 30 minutes, then it should be ready to serve. Adjust salt and seasonings. Serve.
Toppings (categorized by their kosherness, which sometimes matters to me and sometimes does not):
Pareve and totally mandatory for maximum NOMS: Sprinkle some diced red onion and cilantro on top.
Dairy: A nice grated sharp cheddar and/or some sour cream (this is our preferred way of eating it) along with the onion and cilantro. Obviously if you’re doing this version, you’ll be using veg stock or water while cooking.
Meat: Throw in some shredded dark meat chicken with your red onion and cilantro.
Cooking variation the first: use less stock so that you get a thick consistency, but otherwise keep it the same – et viola, black bean chili!
Cooking variation the second: You can totes throw this mess in a stock pot on low and forget about it for 6-8 hours.
It is SO good. My children would totally freak out with squee when I made this, back in the day. It was a winter staple for our family. It is totally healthy, cheap to make, and did I mention, lasts for days?
UPdated for 2013: As I no longer worry about keeping kosher OR feeding a vegetarian I generally do ALL the toppings and make it with chicken stock.