Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winter Comfort: Black Bean Chili with Mushrooms

It was four winters ago now that I discovered this fantastic chili recipe. I remember it well. I was sorting through cooking magazines on a Saturday afternoon when I came upon a copy of the new Eating Well. A long-time fan of the magazine, I was bummed out when they ceased publication in 1999 -- and equally thrilled when they revived the magazine in 2002. Although the new publication turned out to be a far cry from the original, I still enjoyed the intelligent articles and occasionally found a recipe that gave me inspiration.

Glancing through the recipes, I saw black bean mushroom chili... and I was intrigued enough to give the ingredient list a peek. Cardamom & mustard seeds... interesting. Tomatillos... nice. At the time, the recipe was a bit of a stretch for us; but, we were adventurous sorts. And it seemed to give us another option for using up all that quick roasted tomatillo sauce in the freezer.

I'm actually NOT a big fan of the crockpot, but I'm a huge fan of frying spices. So, when I saw that the instructions called for a nice singe on the mustard seeds, I was hopelessly hooked.
The first indication that the recipe would be a winner was the smell of the house when we walked in after a long day's work and found the chili bubbling away. Rich, savory... meaty even.
Spooning the soup into bowls, we noted that the color was fabulous. The beans were creamy and flavorful. And that cardamom? Well, it disappeared seamlessly into the dish, imparting intrigue to a soup that might otherwise have fallen a bit flat.
It's gotten to be such a staple around our house that I almost don't need a recipe. In fact, we've departed so far from the original in this case that I actually sat down the other night and typed out the entire process.
Try it for yourself!
Black Bean Chili with Mushrooms

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  1. Wow, I've never fired spices, I think I'm going to have to try this. It looks amazing.

  2. A black bean mushroom chili sounds terrific! I also like to toast/fire up spices. I bet your kitchen smelled wonderful! :-)

  3. Look at the rich dark color of that broth, that's wonderful!

  4. Chili season is here. I think this is a cool idea. I have been susscribing to Eating Well for a couple of years now, but I don't remember this recipe. I'll have to check the back issues.

  5. I love firing spices. It's such a heady fragrance, isn't it. :)

  6. Ah, yes -- the smell of fried spices!

    Thank goodness for Madhur Jaffrey. If it weren't for her instruction in cooking Indian food, I'd still be in the dark when it comes to the technique.

  7. I am eating this as I type. Its sooooogood. I added fresh cilanto and did about 1/2 your spice (because I am a WIMP). SOOOO GOOD!

  8. You made such a great review of this chili that now I want to make it. Thanks!

  9. Amanda - Glad that you enjoyed. When I say that this is one of our favorite chili recipes (and possibly surprisingly so), I really mean it!

    Helene - The product is easy to sell when it's this good :)

  10. I made this with lentils (because I forgot to soak black beans overnight) and it was delicious too!

  11. I made this AGAIN the hot summer and it was so worth of the best recipes EVER!

  12. Oh, wow Amanda! That's awesome.
    Helps that you can do this in the crockpot, though. And serve it with cool summer condiments like fresh radishes and sour cream!!


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