Beef & Black Bean Chili with Summer Veggies & Chipotle
Hello everyone, today is my first day back to work after 12 days off! Booo (sad face here). I had a really nice time off: some relaxation, lots of family time, and I even managed to get some big “chores” done (because when I know that they’re done, I naturally feel less stressed). As a working parent, I don’t know how I would even balance my life without those vacation days. Seriously! Vacation days are meant for relaxation, but for me – sometimes they’re also a life saver in getting things done as well. Now, you’re probably thinking, why the heck did she post about chili in the middle of the summer? I mean, people don’t normally think about chili in the middle of the summer, right? Chili is actually one of the dishes that shows up throughout the year at our house. I feel like every day, I have lesser free time on my hands, so if I wanted my family to still eat home cooked meals, my cooking needs to be simpler. This recipe is so wonderful because I can get both my protein and veggies in one pot so I don’t have to make additional sides (like vegetable or potatoes or other form of carbs). I also add some leftover chopped zucchini and a generous amount of corn to give this chili a summer flavor, and have a pretty healthy meal without needing anything extra. You can omit those if you wish, but if you do, you’d have to adjust down some of the spices. I also love that this recipe uses black bean as a variation to the traditional red beans used in most chili. This dish is also wonderful as a leftover and stays pretty good in the refrigerator for a few days. With school season starting up around the corner, you can always make an extra batch for the freezer, for a quick healthy dinner in the future. Finally, you can really fancy up this dish into an elegant summer dinner with friends and family with a variety of toppings such as crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheeses, avocado, homemade salsa, etc. Since I’m still working on downloading my vacation pictures, I thought that I’d share one with you of the two kids together playing by the lake.
Beef & Black Bean Chili with Chipotle
Yield: Yield: 4-6 servings
3 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 medium chipotle plus 2 Tbs. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
Kosher salt, to taste
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4-1 cup of sweet corn (frozen or fresh)
2 Tbs. chili powder
4 tsp. ground cumin
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ripe avocado, cut in a medium dice (optional)
Crumbled tortilla chips for topping (optional)
Cheese for topping (optional)
Put one-third of the beans into the bowl of a food processor, along with the tomatoes and their juices, chipotle, and adobo sauce. Process until smooth and set aside.
Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or similar heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering hot, about 2 min. Add the beef, season with 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until it loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Transfer the beef to a large plate using a slotted spoon. Add half of the onion and 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown and soften, about 3 min. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook for 20 seconds.
Add the Add the remaining black beans, the puréed bean mixture, and the beef to the pot and simmer for 10 min., stirring frequently. Add half of the lime juice, half of the cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. If the chili is thicker than you like, it may be thinned with water.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the remaining lime juice and onion with the avocado. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve the chili topped with the avocado mixture and remaining cilantro.
Coarsely crumble about 3 handfuls of tortilla chips in a zip-top bag, and use them as an additional chili topping.
Adapted from: Fine Cooking