black bean chili soup

…but for some reason, I’m thinking that toasty, crunchy bits of tortilla might go down a treat with this black bean chili soup - my entry for Holler and Lisa’s monthly challenge. Maybe some melty cheese too. Mmmmmm. Melty cheese…

There will be some more text here, hopefully by tomorrow evening, but I’m sliding under the slowly-closing temple door, Indy style, to get this one in on time (deadline = midnight tonight), so please excuse the lack of usual waffle in the meantime (or maybe you’ll be happy about that!). Let’s just say it’s a real corker – I mean, two whole tablespoons of chili powder, folks – it more than qualifies for this month’s ‘spicy’ theme! (Naturally, there’s a cinnamon hit in there too :-) )

Espresso Black Bean Chili Soup adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

Chili serves 6 to 8 (Soup serves 3 to 4)

3 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups canned tomatoes
1/2 to 1 cup freshly brewed espresso, 1 to 2 cups brewed coffee or 2 tablespoons espresso powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 cup dark brown sugar or 3 tablespoons molasses
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 pound dried black beans, washed, picked over and soaked for around 8 hours (easy to do before slogging off to work)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Put the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over a medium high heat. When hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Stir in the tomato, espresso, brown sugar, cinnamon and beans, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily but not violently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans begin to soften, 30 to 40 minutes. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Continue cooking until the beans are tender – anywhere from another 45 minutes to 1 hour and 30 mins. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar, salt or pepper.

4. This is actually the point that the real recipe stops and I started playing around because the recipe produced a lot of chili and I had to think of different ways to use it all up. So, for a soupy treat…

5. Take about half the beans and place in a separate pan with 1 pint of stock. Whizz the lot up, until reasonably smooth.

6. Spoon in some more beans if you’d like a bit more texture. Freeze the rest of the chili to eat another day/turn into soup or feed it to your starving husband who says he ‘gets a bit of a tingle from the chili but it’s not blow-your-head-off hot’. 

Cook’s notes

Yep – I should have made about half of the recipe but didn’t think it through. And, with limited freezer space, I had to find ways of squeezing black bean chili into everything, except maybe my morning cereal.

Didn’t have any espresso, so I nicked some of Mr B’s fresh coffee. He was a bit upset about that until he tasted the end result. He is a convert :-)

There may even be a better photo, if I get the chance to take a snap during daylight hours…

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