Thursday, January 29, 2009

97. Black Bean Chili (p. 268)

We're still talking about things that I made to freeze and eat during those first sleep-deprived days ad new parents.

Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet (or something like that). That may be so, but I think that this recipe* would have tasted better if it had been called Black Bean Soup instead of Black Bean Chili. To me, the word "chili" calls to mind a thick, hearty and substantial stew. This recipe, while tasty, has a very thin, soup-like texture. As a result of it being called "chili," I was disappointed when it didn't live up to my image of what "chili" is supposed to be.

The first thing I did to make this recipe was to soak some dried black beans overnight (again, I get an A+ for planning ahead). Next, I toasted some cumin, paprika, cayenne and oregano in a skillet for a few minutes. I'm not sure whether this somewhat fussy step was worth the effort or not. Toasting spices gives them a more intense flavor, but because of the other strong flavors in the dish (like chipotles in adobo sauce), I couldn't really notice a difference. The Book calls for a dried pasilla chile to be ground and mixed in with the spices. I couldn't find a pasilla, so I left it out, and I think that it was just as well since, when Teena made this chili, she found almost too spicy to eat.

After dealing with the beans and spices, I cooked some onions and green peppers in oil and then I added some garlic, chopped chipotle peppers and the spice mixture. Next I added the beans and some water and simmered for an hour and a half. After all of this simmering, the beans were nice and tender, but I was really disappointed with the texture of the chili. For a minute, I thought about pureeing some of the chili in the blender to give it some body, but I didn't think that it was worth the extra dirty dishes. So, I mashed some of the beans with at potato masher. It helped thicken the chili a little but, bot not enough. The last thing I did was to add some chopped canned tomatoes.

I divided the chili into three freezer bags. When we were ready to eat it, I put one of the bags in a bowl in the microwave and zapped it for three minutes at a time until it was nice and hot. I served it with chopped cilantro, a dallop of sour cream and some tortilla chips. It was OK, but like I said, the texture was not what I'm looking for in a chili.

Date Cooked: December 28, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: B-

*This recipe is not online.


Liz C said...

Blender? Phah! Get yourself a stick blender. It's the only way to go.

BTW, I agree - it looks like soup from here. Glad it tasted OK, though.

Adam said...

Funny that you should mention an immersion blender. I have one and love it. It wasn't until just after I published this post that it hit me that the immersion blender would have been just the thing.