You know the weather in between winter and spring? The kind that means wearing a pea coat in the morning and short sleeves in the afternoon? I hate that type of weather, and that’s exactly what we’re currently experiencing in Richmond. The days are mostly pretty, but the mornings and nights are still quite cold. I’m certainly ready for spring, but I’m taking advantage of the cool nights by making my favorite cool weather food – soup. I’m done with the heavy, rich soups of winter, but it’s not quite warm enough for the light, fresh soups of spring.
This recipe is one of those that I just knew I would enjoy. There’s not a single thing on the ingredient list that I don’t love, so adding this to the menu was a no-brainer for me. This chili isn’t the kind I’m used to having. My standby chili is rich, meaty and heavy. It’s the type of chili you eat in the middle of winter when there’s snow on the ground. I like that this one is different from regular chili because they each serve different purposes. This one is hearty, but it lacks the heaviness I normally associate with chili. Instead of meat, this one uses black beans. This chili is the kind that’s perfect for the cool nights right before the start of spring. The thing that really struck me about this chili was that I could taste every ingredient. With some, I feel like everything takes on the same flavor, but that wasn’t the case with this one. I also really liked the addition of corn, something I never thought to put in chili. I did make a couple changes. I love tomatoes in my chili, so I used an entire can of tomatoes instead of half. Since I didn’t want the chili to become too thin because of the extra tomatoes, I also added a tablespoon of tomato paste. The changes I’ve made are reflected below. Also, it’s important to make this chili with a beer you enjoy drinking because the beer flavor definitely comes through. I loved everything about this chili – spice from the chipotle, slight sweetness from the beer, heartiness from the beans and added texture from the red pepper and corn. If the cool nights last, I’ll be making this one again soon.
- YIELD: 3-4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 medium white onion, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (12-ounce) bottle dark ale
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
Salt, to taste
Heat oil in a medium pot set over medium heat. Add chipotles and cumin and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and continue cooking about 5 minutes, until vegetables are soft. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Taste and add salt as needed.
Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until thick. Top with extra bell pepper and onion if desired.