Smoky Black Bean Chili
This chilly weather has me craving extra hearty dishes for dinner lately. I had some black beans lying around I had reserved for whenever I got in the mood to use them and I thought to cook up a black bean chili. Seems fitting for November. Now, this is not a dish I would normally cook up with my beans. Usually, I'll have my beans as a side dish or I'l mix them in with bitter leafy greens from my garden like escarole (yum!). But, me being me, I love a challenge so I dived right in to making a chili without guidance besides googling measurements and things like that. What I discovered, more or less, to be the trick with making a good chili involves rich complex flavors that should be a combination of sweet, bitter, fresh and hot elements. Also, it should have a robust meaty flavor to be bound together by a thick deep red sauce. Well, I may not know much about chili but I do know a lot about red sauces. When I discovered the red sauce element, I got inspired even more to make this dish and make it delicious I would.
Since I really wasn't in the mood for anything spicy, I substituted the hot peppers for sweet ones instead. The result tasted great and I didn't miss the heat at all. My choice for the red sauce was my Smoky Eggplant Sauce. This sauce is very thick and very hearty all on its own. It has a meatiness to it without having any meat in it. (All my tomato sauces are 100% vegan.) The smoky, garlic and parsley flavors pair beautifully with most meats and it paired fantastic with the pork in my black bean chili dish.
I'm going to explore the world of chili a lot more this season since I now have some more chili ideas up my sleeve but I wanted to share with you my Smoky Black bean Chili recipe. I fed some to my grandkids and they licked their bowls cleaned so it is definitely kid friendly and definitely kid-approved. Buon appetito!