Chipotle Black Bean Chili

Have you every wondered why black beans have become so popular in the United States in recent years? They’ve long been a staple in our south-of-the-border neighbor, Mexico, where they’re called frijoles negros.

Now, Americans have discovered that black beans not only are uniquely delicious but nutritious as well.

Few foods have as solid a nutritional profile as black beans. They are loaded with protein and fiber. As as far as antioxidants, black beans have at least eight different flavonoids, the color-producing phytonutrients pigments that work together with vitamins to help the body avoid oxygen-related damage.

Black beans also contain small amounts of omega 3-fatty acids, about three times that available from many other beans, including kidney beans.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed black beans in a variety of dishes from soups to stews to chilis, which brings me to following recipe, which was passed on to me by Mark Haley of Grand Forks.

Mark, who along with his wife, Bonnie, owns Bon Voyage Travel Agency, does the majority of cooking in their household. Recently, I shared with him my penchant for spicy foods, and not too long after that, he shared this black bean chili recipe with me.

I’ve yet to try the chili, mainly because Therese isn’t a big fan of spicy food and it contains a variety of hot pepper, chipotle. It’s one of those recipes that I’ll make when she’s out of town.

But that’s not to say I have to wait to try it.

Chipotle Black Bean Chili
1 pound Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Hot Sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
28 ounces chicken broth
1 14 1/2-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 16-ounce jar picante sauce
2 cups frozen diced hash browns
1 15 1/4-ounce can whole-kernel corn
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown sausage and ground beef. Drain fat.
Add remaining and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Black Beans and Rice Chili

Everyone loves a bowl of hot chili on a cold day. And add a little bit of rice to the mix and you have a meal that hardly needs any accompaniment.

Here’s a recipe from Zatarain’s for Black Beans and Rice Chili, a one-skillet meal complete with corn and red bell pepper for color and texture that could become a Super Bowl party standby for years to come.

Black Beans and Rice Chili
2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 pound ground beef
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced red bell pepper
1 package Zatarain’s Black Beans and Rice
2 cups water
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Assorted toppings, such as shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add ground beef, onion and bell pepper; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Drain fat.
Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, rice mix, water, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, garlic powder and crushed red pepper.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minute or until most of the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent rice and beans from sticking. Serve with assorted toppings, if desired.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per: 321 calories, 734 milligrams 2odium, 13 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrates, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams fiber 19 grams protein.

Chili Mole

Most people know that chili lovers fall into two categories: those who use beans and those who don’t. There are also those who say that chili should contain chunks of meat, not the ground variety.

When it comes to meat, it doesn’t really matter to me. However, beans are a must. For that matter, I can go for a chili that’s vegetarian as well as one full of meat.

And during Lent, if you’re looking for an alternative to fish, a meatless chili is just the ticket.

Here’s a recipe from Crescent Dragonwagon, who has been writing about bean cuisine for 40 years, dating back to “The Bean Book,” published in 1972, when she was just 18.

In her latest,”Bean by Bean: A Cookbook” (Workman, $15.95 paperback), Dragonwagon writes about how the perception of beans has changed in the ensuing years and how the number of readily available varieties has exploded. Here’s a recipe from that book, a bean-based chili loaded with complex flavors.

Chili Mole
1 pound dried black beans, picked over, rinsed and soaked
10 to 12 cups vegetable stock or broth (see note)
2 bay leaves
1 ancho (dried poblano) chili, stemmed
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, stemmed
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dark raisins
¼ cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and chopped (see note)
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (see note)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper or to taste
¼ teaspoon anise seed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika (see note)
1 tablespoon chili powder, preferably hot
Ground cloves
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 15- to 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
1 to 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, diced
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, preferably natural
1 tablespoon tahini or 2 tablespoons freshly toasted sesame seeds
1 chipotle chili in adobo, stemmed
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey (optional)
Cook the beans. Drain soaked beans and rinse well. Place in a large, heavy pot; add enough stock to cover them by 1½ inches. Add bay leaves, ancho chili, whole stemmed jalapeno and a generous grinding of black pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Add the raisins. Continue cooking until the beans are nearly tender and the raisins have more or less disintegrated, 30 to 60 minutes longer.
About 20 minutes or so before the beans are done, spray a large, heavy skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Place it over medium heat, add olive oil and, when it’s hot, onions. Saute onions until they start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in bell pepper, chopped jalapeno and poblano; saute for 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, oregano, cayenne, anise seed, cinnamon, paprika, chili powder and a tiny pinch of cloves. Reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until it just becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
Scrape the sauteed ingredients into the simmering beans. Deglaze the saute pot with a little bean stock, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return this liquid to the beans.
Add the tomatoes and their juice and the tomato paste to the bean pot and stir well. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then maintain at a simmer while you continue with the recipe.
Place chocolate, peanut butter, tahini, chipotle and adobo sauce in a food processor or blender. Add a generous ladleful of the simmering beans (including the whole ancho and jalapeño, if you can find them) and process to make a thick, highly seasoned paste.
Scrape the paste into the bean pot, turn the heat down as low as possible and add a generous portion of salt to taste. Simmer slowly, partially covered, until the seasonings are well blended, about 20 minutes longer.
Just before serving, pick out the bay leaves. If desired, mash a couple of ladlefuls of the beans against the sides of the pot to thicken the chili. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary, adding agave syrup or honey if more sweetness is desired. Serve immediately or let come to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, overnight and reheat very gently the next day.
Yield: Serves 10.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 340 calories, 12 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 14 grams protein, 48 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams sugar, 13 grams fiber, 915 milligrams sodium, 93 milligrams calcium.
Note: A 12-ounce bottle of beer can be substituted for 1½ cups of the stock. Seed the chopped jalapeno that’s used in the saute for a milder chili. If you don’t have coriander seeds, increase the amount of ground coriander to 3½ teaspoons. Substitute ½ teaspoon smoked paprika for ½ teaspoon of the sweet paprika, if desired.

Spicy Mushroom-Chicken Chili

Fickle February. That’s about the only way to describe the weather of the year’s second month. And by the looks of things this week, that’s an apt description.

The month started with temperatures in the 30s, and if we are to believe the meteorologists and other weather forecasters, we should be in for a few days of cold weather. And then, temperatures will be back into the 30s by early next week.

It’s predicted that the temperature is to dip below zero tonight. And to me, this kind of weather signals it’s time for chili.

I recently came across an one-pot chili that stars chicken and mushrooms. With a chicken cooking in the oven and the rest of the ingredients on hand, I can foresee a bowl of chili in the immediate future.

Spicy Mushroom-Chicken Chili
2 teaspoons canola oil
¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium, canned, diced tomatoes with their juice
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup drained and rinsed canned red kidney beans
1 cup frozen corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ pound sliced white mushrooms (about 3 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
2 slices crusty, multigrain bread, toasted
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, jalapeno, beans, corn, chili powder, cumin, garlic and mushrooms. Bring to a simmer, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, adding a little water if it becomes too dry. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle chili with cilantro, and serve with toast on the side.
Note: The chili keeps well and can be frozen. Make extra and save for another quick meal.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 567 calories, 24 percent of calories from fat, 15 grams fat (2.8 grams saturated, 5.9 grams monounsaturated), 138 milligrams cholesterol, 53.1 grams protein, 61.4 grams carbohydrates, 15.1 grams fiber, 522 milligrams sodium.

Red Menace Chili

Anyone who is hosting a Super Bowl party probably has the menu set. One dish that’s very popular on pro football’s biggest day of the year is chili.

If you’re one of those people who likes things hot, the following recipe will surely satisfy your needs. Red Menace Chili is spiced up with chili powder, cumin, and coriander as well as dried ancho chilies and some smoked sausage such as andouille.

Red Menace Chili
6 large dried ancho chilies
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
4 slices bacon, chopped
3 links spicy smoked sausage (such as andouille) cut into bite-size pieces
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 cup beer, such as an IPA or a Mexican lager
2 cans kidney beans, drained, rinsed
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup beef broth
½ cup strong black coffee
Soak ancho chilies in enough boiling water to cover them, at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours; drain, reserving 1 cup soaking liquid. Place chilies, reserved soaking liquid, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and honey in a blender; blend until smooth.
Cook bacon in a large skillet until crispy and fat is rendered; transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add sausages to skillet; cook until edges are slightly crispy. Transfer to plate to drain; discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet.
Add beef to skillet in batches; cook, turning, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a slow cooker along with sausages and bacon. Cook onions in the skillet in batches until tender; transfer to slow cooker. Pour beer into the skillet; heat over medium-high heat, stirring up any brown bits. Add to the slow cooker along with chili puree, beans, tomatoes, broth and coffee. Cook on low until beef is falling-apart tender. (Alternately, use a Dutch oven, as before.)
Note: Try this chili with sharp Cheddar cheese, raw chopped onion and chopped avocado.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10.

Super Bowl Hero Favorites

What do Brett Favre, Steve Young and Roger Staubach have in common? For one thing, they all have Super Bowl rings — Favre with the Green Bay Packers, Young with the San Francisco 49ers and Staubach with the Dallas Cowboys.

They’ve also contributed recipes to the food editor at Parade magazine for Sunday’s pre-Super Bowl issue. Parade is posting the recipes online, not in the Sunday magazine, and it’s also shared a few of the them with newspaper food editors.

Here’s a look at three of the recipes, Favre’s Jambalaya, Young’s Bean Dip and Staubach’s Family Chili. The other recipes can be found at

Brett Favre’s Family Jambalaya
3 ribs celery, diced
¼ cup chopped green onions
1 green pepper, diced
½ yellow pepper, diced
½ red pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoon olive oil for sauteing
½ pound diced cooked ham
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 pound sliced chicken breast
¾ pound diced shrimp
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup bay leaf, crumbled
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
¼  cup sugar
1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade is fine)
3 ounces chicken base (dissolved in 4 cups near boiling water)
8 cups cooked white rice
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, saute all vegetables in olive oil until tender.
Add meats and shrimp to the pot and cook until the chicken is done.
Add all seasonings, marinara, and dissolved chicken base to the pot; stir well to combine. Simmer for 1 hour over low heat.
Stir in rice and serve.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10.

Steve Young’s Bean Dip
2 11-ounce cans Green Giant Mexicorn (whole-kernel corn with red and green peppers)
2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 15.5-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 small bunch green onions, chopped (green parts only)
1 cup red wine vinegar (if desired, add up to ½ cup more to taste)
¾ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced
Mix corn, black beans, kidney beans, and chopped scallions together in a large bowl.
Add olive oil and red wine vinegar; stir in gently. Marinate in fridge for at least 4 hours. Note from Steve: The longer you marinate it, the better!
When ready to serve, add salt and pepper to taste. Top with freshly diced tomatoes and avocados.
Serve with lime tortilla chips.
Yield: Serves 8 to 12.

Roger Staubach’s Family Chili
1 pound ground beef
½ onion chopped
½ green pepper chopped
1¼ cups ketchup
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp water
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 15-ounce can Ranch Style Beans (if unable to find Ranch Style Beans, use 1 15-ounce can kidney beans)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large oiled saucepan over medium heat, brown ground beef.
Add onion and pepper; cook until onion is translucent and pepper is softened. Drain off fat.
Add ketchup, water, chili powder, beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine; simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Spoon into bowls; top with grated Cheddar if desired.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Pumpkin-Roasted Red Pepper Chili

Chili is one of those dishes whose popularity defies description. And one of the reasons is that there are so many variations of it that it’s hard not to like it.

course, there are two distinct camps when it comes to chili. In one is those who use beans. In the other, legumes are a no-no.

I’m one of those people who likes both. In fact, I’m game to try just about any kind of chili, no matter what’s in it.

That’s why a recipe that was sent to me by a co-worker, Chris Bieri, has been printed out and is sitting on my kitchen counter, awaiting a trial run.

After a little research, I discovered the recipe originally came from Associated Press food writer J.M Hirsch. I’ve always been a fan of Hirsch’s recipes, which are part of our AP wire service.

This recipe for chili is a pretty traditional one (without beans) that contains pumpkin puree as well as roasted red peppers. Hirsch says the pumpkin is very subtle, and it creates a wonderfully creamy texture to the chili. (The meat is bison and pork.)

Besides adding a sweet nutty flavor to dishes, pumpkin is a ready source of vitamin A, which boosts the nutrition content of this offbeat chili.

Pumpkin-Roasted Red Pepper Chili
2 medium yellow onions, quartered
16-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
6-ounce can tomato paste
2 pounds ground bison
1 pound boneless pork ribs, roughly chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
Salt and ground black pepper
In a blender or food processor, combine the onions, roasted red peppers, pumpkin and tomato paste. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
Heat a large stockpot over medium-high. Add the bison and pork and cook until starting to brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Add the pumpkin mixture and the broth, then stir well. Add the garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, smoked paprika and chili powder.
Bring to a simmer then partially cover the pot to prevent splattering but allow steam to escape. Simmer for 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: Chris said he might dump in a bottle or two of a good seasonal fall beer.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 650 calories, 60 percent of  calories from fat; 43 grams fat (17 grams saturated, no trans fats), 170 milligrams cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, 44 grams protein, 5 grams fiber, 1,170 milligrams sodium.

All-American Chili

So, you’re going to host an informal get-together for a bunch of your friends and family to watch some pro football playoff games, but you don’t know what to serve. A safe and easy option is chili. That was one of my favorites.

And there is nothing more satisfying than a bowl of hot chili, especially when the temperatures are below the freezing mark.

Here is a recipe from the folks at McCormick that is easy to make and not too spicy for those  who  like their chili on the mild side.

All-American Chili
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons garlic salt
½ teaspoon oregano leaves
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Cook ground beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain fat, if needed.
Stir in spices and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped onion, if desired.
Yield: Serves 5.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 310 calories, 14 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrates, 57 milligrams cholesterol, 1,366 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber, 23 grams protein.

South-of-the-Border Black Bean Soup

Nothing beats the cold than a hot bowl of soup or chili. And if it has a little added kick, that’s even better.

With temperatures closer to seasonal averages than they have been all winter, I thought a pot of chili might be in order. I was thinking about one along the vegetarian line, since we’ve had our share of red meat the past couple of days.

But when Rick Branvold of rural Gilby, N.D., called me today inquiring about a black bean soup recipe that had been in the Herald a few years back, I changed my mind after looking over the recipe.

Branvold, a civilian employee at Grand Forks Air Force Base, said the soup has been a family favorite ever since it was published. He said his wife had called him at work about the recipe, and he was having trouble remembering the exact ingredients, so he decided to give me a call.

Here’s the recipe, which I can’t wait to try again.

South-of-the-Border Black Bean Soup
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-ounce can no-salt added whole tomatoes, chopped
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 14.5-ounce can fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth
2 4-ounce cans whole green chilies, drained and coarsely chopped
1½ cups frozen corn
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
Light or no-fat sour cream, for garnish
Colby-jack reduced fat shredded cheese, for garnish
Baked tortilla chips, for garnish
Place all soup ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting 7 to 9 hours.
Ladle into bowls. Dollop with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Sprinkle one tablespoon shredded cheese over all and crush 4 chips on top.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 157 calories, 10 percent of calories from fat, 2 grams fat (trace saturated), no cholesterol, 29 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 579 milligrams sodium, 9 grams dietary fiber.

Chili Verde

Most people who live in the northern climes have make red chili more ways than you can shake a stick at. But if you ask them about the green variety, most will plead ignorance.

While I’ve never made green chili, it isn’t totally off my radar. I remember eating it a couple of times on trips to the Southwest several years ago and was quite impressed, since spicy dishes appeal to me.

More commonly called chili verde, the tasty dish usually is made with chunks of pork butt or shoulder, tomatillos and jalapeno peppers and slow-cooked until the meat is tender.

After coming across a chili verde recipe recently, I’ve decided to forgo my traditional recipe and give the new one a try. I’m especially looking forward to adding some my own home-grown cilantro, which is coming along nicely under a grow light in my downstairs pantry.

Chili Verde
2½ pounds pork butt, trimmed, leaving a small amount of outside fat
½ cup olive oil
1 head garlic, peeled, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2½ pounds tomatillos, papery skins removed, coarsely chopped
1 to 3 fresh jalapenos, seeded, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
2 cups each: water, chicken broth
½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
Cut pork into 1 ½-inch cubes. Place pork, oil, chopped head of garlic, salt and pepper in a large Dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat until hot; lower heat to low. Cook, 1 hour. Stir occasionally so pork cubes brown well on all sides. Drain off all but a few tablespoons oil; add half the onion to pork. Cook, 2 minutes.
Add remaining onion, tomatillos, jalapenos, remaining 2 cloves chopped garlic, water and broth. Simmer uncovered, 1½ to 2 hours. Check seasoning while cooking, adding salt and pepper to taste. Check meat at 1½ hours; the pork should be very tender. If you’d like a thicker stew, increase heat slightly and reduce liquids. Check seasoning; serve garnished with cilantro.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 453 calories, 22 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 122 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrates, 45 grams protein, 411 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.