Orange Black Bean Chili
I can't help but feel like Mother Nature is toying with me. Last week, we experienced evening temperatures in the high 50's and this week we're down into the low 30's with daytime highs pushing 70. I'm at the point where she either needs to decide if we're going to have a winter or not. Beyond beautifully dry and brown California, the rest of the country experiencing freezing temperatures, rain, snow and even sleet, I thought I'd share (and update) my absolute favorite chili recipe for this time of year. Heck, I'll make this recipe throughout the year because it doubles as a fantastic appetizer for hungry house guests when served with corn tortilla chips.
Usually, when I think of chili, I think of the extremely spicy beef chili that my grandfather made during the winter months. While it was tasty, it was incredibly heavy, which meant it didn't take much to fill your stomach or give you a stomach ache. This chili recipe is vegetarian and smokier than spicy, which means it's the perfect hug in a bowl. Depending on how hungry your family is, you can serve it alongside warmed tortillas, cornbread or with a basket of corn tortilla chips.
What really makes this chili stand out is the use of orange juice and orange zest. While the chili contains usual spices often found in most chili's, the orange really adds a level of brightness to the recipe, making it feel not so... heavy. When I initially stumbled across this recipe in an issue of Food & Wine, I thought this chili needed meat. I experimented with using ground beef, pork, and even turkey and then leaving it as is. If you want to add some kind of ground meat, you can, otherwise, I actually prefer it meatless. Instead of regular fresh oregano, I prefer hot and spicy oregano, but if you can't find it (grow it yourself, it's so easy to grow and a great addition to many recipes) just use plain old oregano. I also use crushed tomatoes that include diced chiles or jalapenos.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- cut into 1/4 inch dice medium onion
- cut into 1/4 inch dice medium red bell pepper
- minced, 1/2 cup ancho chile pepper
- minced 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon, minced fresh hot and spicy oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- to taste salt and pepper
- 1 can 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes with diced chiles
- rinsed and drained 2 cups black beans
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- garnish fresh cilantro
- for serving greek yogurt or sour cream