Black Bean Chili

Black beans put me in mind of health food restaurants, which doesn’t make any sense at all, since they’re among the starchiest beans on the planet and don’t have much nutritional value compared to lots of other varieties. This recipe comes from the Harvest Café in Oxford.

We always served it with a dollop of sour cream and sides of (brown) rice and dense crusty bread we got from some stoner in Abbeville. It was a substantial dish. The tomatoes were optional depending who was cooking and how hungover, but were always added after the beans were cooked; this is crucial: if you add tomatoes or salt before, the beans will toughen and sour.

1 lb. black beans
2 medium white onions finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
5 serranos
4 poblanos
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (optional)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt

Sort and rinse beans, place in a heavy metal pot with six cups water (or vegetable or beef stock) to cover and bring to a rolling boil for fifteen minutes. Reduce heat, add onions, garlic and chilies; simmer until beans are soft, adding liquid as needed. Season, add tomatoes if you want, and cook on low heat. You want a thick, creamy consistency.  Salt to taste. Provide more heat on the table, pico de gallo or a pepper sauce and top with diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, diced red onion, shredded cheese, sliced jalapeños and/or serranos.  Makes about two quarts.

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