Chipotle Black Bean Chili

Black Bean Beef Chilli (0027) by Meeta K. Wolff

What comes to mind when you think of American cuisine? Is there even such a thing as an American food culture? Be honest now, how many of you thought instantly of hamburgers, s’mores, doughnuts or corn dogs? Or did you laugh scornfully and think microwave dinners and fast food?

I’ve always wondered why the thought of American food raises so many eyebrows and why it seems to have such a bad reputation around the world.

America is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and customs and the food in this vast country is as varied as the people living in it. The food is a synthesis of the various nationalities that over the years have settled down in the different regions of America. From European, native American, Asian, Caribbean, and African, the impulses came from all over the world. New immigrants brought their customs and local specialties, adapting them to indigenous ingredients and flavors they found in the new country.

The immigrants tended to settle according to nationality, forming compact urban and rural communities with strong threads of languages and cuisines. Soon however, these regional dishes expanded to include new and exciting foods and dishes taking the “Old World” cuisines and combining them with regional ingredients and traditions to create dishes uniquely American.

Black Bean Beef Chilli (0032) by Meeta K. Wolff

From the New England clam chowder in the East, to a sausage and shrimp jambalaya in the South, to wild Alaskan salmon in the Northwest, to Navajo fried bread in the Southwest, the melting pot is a concoction of intriguing and distinct flavors.

Tex-Mex refers to one such regional American cuisine, which today is celebrated and enjoyed all over the world. A culinary creation of early pioneers and settlers into Texas influenced by the Mexican cuisine, the Tex-Mex cuisine quickly spread from Texas to the rest of the country.

Black Bean Beef Chilli (0029) by Meeta K. Wolff

Food historians claim that the first printed evidence of "TexMex" in reference to food was in 1945. TexMex restaurants slowly began surfacing outside the Southwest U.S. in cities with substantial Hispanic populations. In the 1970s, Mexican culinary expert Diana Kennedy is credited for taking this simple fare and making it trendy and a new "gourmet" cuisine for a younger generation.

Served at dinner tables across Texas, this cuisine has changed little from its earliest origins and is still heavily influenced by the cuisine in the neighboring northern state of Mexico. TexMex incorporates ingredients common to Mexican cuisine and sometimes some ingredients unknown in Mexico are often also added. This cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of meat, in particular beef, beans and spices, in addition to Mexican-style tortillas. Nachos, crispy tacos, crispy chalupas, chili con queso, chili con carne, chili gravy and fajitas are all TexMex inventions.

Black Bean Beef Chilli (0025) by Meeta K. Wolff

A warm, soothing and spicy bowl of chili on a blustery and cool Autumn day, is one of the things I find truly satisfying. We love our chili. My passion for TexMex food I have carried since my childhood years when I spent a few years in Houston. I have not been back for a long time. My uncle and his family, who have lived there for as long as I can remember, keep taunting me to visit, his promises to take me to back to San Antonio for that bowl of spicy black bean chili I can still taste every time I think of chili, makes me fire up my stove top to create my own chili.

What I remember distinctly was the amazing smoky flavor the chili had with a slight heat to it. It was not fiery but packed with fragrant aromas. In my chili I add a sprinkling of chipotle chili to achieve both - the smoky flavor and the heat. Now do not go raising any eyebrows at the crumbling of feta on this. It’s optional - I like the the way the salty cheese offsets the other flavors in the chili. You can use a generous grating of Monterey Jack if you prefer. I serve the chili with cumin roasted potatoes but this would work fantastically on tortillas or dolloped over a crispy taco. 

Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Chili  

Printable version of recipe here

Black Bean Beef Chili by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pimenton (or substitute a mild paprika powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili
  • 3 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 500g ground beef
  • 800g tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 x 400g cans black beans , rinsed and drained
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 100g fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 70g feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and fry the garlic and onions for 5 minutes until almost softened. Add the pimenton, chipotle chili and cumin, cook for a few minutes. Add the beef, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, until it loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown and soften, about 3 min. Reduce the heat to medium.
  2. Add the black beans and chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 min., stirring frequently. Add 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.
  3. Scatter the chili with the remaining cilantro, spring onion and crumbled feta (if using) and serve with slow roasted potatoes, scattered with cumin seeds.

Verdict

Black Bean Beef Chilli (0022) by Meeta K. Wolff

Yes my chili is sacred to me and I am passing on my passion for the TexMex cuisine to Soeren who loves fajitas, quesadillas and co. When our friends come over, they are often spoilt with stacks of cheesy quesadillas, spicy beef fajitas or this chili and I love the way my German friends dig in. Yes - some of them are the ones who scorn at American cuisine.

This is my entry to this session of the Monthly Mingle being hosted at Jenn Cuisine, who has chosen the fantastic theme “Americana”. I am really looking forward to the variety of dishes you have submitted. If you would like to join us the deadline is 30 September 2012.

Enjoy!

Dubai Food Photography and Styling Workshop Update

Pink Pepper Dima High Res photo

I am thrilled to to announce that the vibrant Dima Sharif of the very successful “I COOK, Specialized Culinary Courses” will be teaming up with us at the workshop to offer an amazing course training our lucky participants in preparing and cooking a sublime Arabic menu. Dima will share some of her authentic dishes to a divine menu that we have just put together. She will guide participants in a hands-on session giving tips, talking about the authentic presentation and the history of the dishes.

We will then style and shoot some of the dishes and last but not least enjoy this tantalizing meal together in a relaxed atmosphere. Dima is one of the leading cookery instructors and food writers in the UAE region.

Now if we have tempted you to join us in this exceptional 2-day food photography and styling course (we have more surprises coming up) you’ll have to hurry as we only have a few places left on the workshop. Interested? Register here!

Dima sharif logo_jpegAbout Dima Sharif
“Dima Sharif, is a Food Artisan and Cookery Instructor living and working in Dubai. She had been working in the food industry for over 7 years through which her brand - “Dima Sharif” Bringing food to life - was born. Her experience in the food industry is diversified and touches on catering, gourmet food production, cooking and baking training, recipe development, live cooking demonstrations as well as food writing.  She is currently a dedicated cookery instructor and food writer. She conducts a variety of cookery courses some of which are specialized courses and others are casual classes and sessions. Dima also writes a food blog entitled “Dima Sharif” that is dedicated to explaining to her readers how food and cookery work. Known for developing scrumptious, very well balanced recipes as well as exploring various concoctions both savoury and sweet from different cuisines in great depth - often in step-by-step tutorials - had her reach out and connect with lots of food enthusiasts, home cooks as well as industry figures.

During the last five years Dima’s reputation as a Food Artisan, writer and cookery instructor has grown considerably in stature particularly amongst her fans and other industry figures. She has developed an enthusiastic following and fan base on various social networks, her blog had gained considerable readership and continues to grow and she is determined to continue bringing food to life through all her current and upcoming projects.

For more information about Dima and her courses please visit www.dimasharif.com

You might like these ideas from WFLH:

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Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesadillas Jamaican Jerk Chicken Black Bean Chili with Saffron Rice & Papaya Guacamole


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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60 comments:

  1. The chili sounds good, it has everything from beef to cheese to beans in it! This has to be pleasing to my Indian tastes.

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    1. HAHA! It's pleasing to my Indian taste too. YOu can make this as hot as you like! Enjoy!

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  2. Although feta is unusual, it's not that different from queso fresco, which would be a perfect topping. I love smoky hot chili, too. And thanks for your beautiful homage to American regional cuisine.

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    1. It's unfortunate that American cuisine has such a bad reputation. It has so much to offer. The feta is really my personal addition as I love the creamy and salty texture to it. :o)

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  3. This chili sounds delicious. I love the flavor that chipotle ads to a dish. I think I will try this soon!

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    1. Hope you enjoy it Julie - I adore chipotle too. Such an awesome smoky flavor!

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  4. Hi Meeta!

    I have been asking myself the same questions. As you mentioned the first that comes to my mind is Mcdonalds burgers (hehe), fast food in general and maybe those huge over sized steaks.

    I feel america is developing their food culture right now, its quite a young continent and honestly who will know any native american food recipes and dishes. The only thing that's left are corns, I guess.

    I am new to this type of dishes, so I am glad that you posted that recipe. I hope to make it in the near future. thanks for sharing all this. =)

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    1. This is a lovely dish and one of the all-time faves in the Southwest region, actually all over the country. Hope you enjoy it when you make it.

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  5. Mmmhhh, so comforting and flavorful! This chili looks mouthwatering.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  6. I recently fell in love with chipotle and I absolutely have to try this recipe!!! It sounds soooo amazing!

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    1. Oh you should try the chipotle chili from Smaromi. It's awesome. Hope you enjoy it!

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  7. Ok Now this post is so unfair, because I am dreaming of making this Chili and I must be eating only cucumbers and tomatoes if anything at this hour!! Yum, and as always your photos make the crave stronger!

    Had to say that before jumping to the workshop in Dubai. I am so excited and can't wait to do this, it will be so much fun, and am taking you all on such a flavour journey like nothing you have had before.. I too have a couple of surprises up my sleeve ;)

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    1. Dima - love to see you here. Glad I could tease you with my cooking for a change as you keep doing that to me.
      I am so looking forward to the wokdhop and having the Arabic cooking session with you. I know this will blow the participants away. Looking forward to the surprises too!

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  8. Hope you don't unfriend me when I say this. I don't like chili :$ Have tried in several places and yet somehow my taste bud just couldn't go wow. Your photos always tempts me. My husband loves spicy chili dish and I think he will love this dish.

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    1. LOL! No I won't unfriend you at all. Maybe this one will change your mind. I hope it does. :o)

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  9. I agree that tex-mex is very much an American staple... and chili is consumed all over the country. Though, I must say that hamburgers and hot dogs do come to mind as American cuisine. :-)

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    1. Yeah I know they do - and that is a shame. I love TexMex and glad that it has found its way out of the USA and become popular all over the world.

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  10. BBQ, tailgates & Tex Mex. Funny, great mind think alike. I was just looking the other day at the history of chili as it seem like such a good ole' American dish but I was curious about the roots of it. Mind you I was having bowl of chili while researching! :) Love your version and great monthly mingle I always wish to participate in.

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    1. Shulie what can I say ... we connect! Love it. Hope to see at one of the mingles!

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  11. I love your thoughts about American food -- it's spot on! Especially being a melting pot of cultures.

    That's a lip smacking chili!

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  12. Hahaha... Did you notice that both our blog posts start virtually with the same line on hamburgers..? So funny... I agree that there is so much more to American cuisine and I was quite amazed at the variety of dishes that popped up when I searched for American cuisine... I LOVE mexican food but don't make it often enough. As the temperature drop I am looking forward to eating more chili! Love the feta crumbled on it... ( I'm thinking feta is next on our cheese making adventure so I can use homemade for that !)

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    1. Well yeah the fast food chains have done more harm to the American food culture that everyone thinks it's all about hamburger. I am looking forward to the feta!

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  13. LOL - yes Ameerican food does get a bad rap - but I LOVE it (the good stuff, not the Wendy's burgers!!) My personal fave is Southern food - pulled pork, hush puppies and the like, but I also have a soft spot for TexMex, clam chowder, and the awesome beef hotdogs they serve all over Chicago. Hungry now... Love this chilli and still remember the fab chilli with cornbread topping we made together at Cooksister HQ two years ago! (PS come and visit...)

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    1. Oh yes I remember that incredible weekend last year. Chili, cornbread, concerts .... the best my borg sister! We need to do it again soon!

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  14. I love a good chili and since chipotle is one of my favorite flavors and black beans one of mu 6-yr-old's favorite foods, this is definitely getting made asap! I have my own similar recipe but yours looks so hearty that I'm anxious to try it.

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    1. I like hearty meals like this and hope you and your family enjoy this too.

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  15. American cuisine..and my mind wanders around bland foods and beefy cheesy hamburgers..but not anymore. This chili dish looks like a perfect dish...not sure if I can get Chipotle chili here.

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    1. But there is a lot more to American food than what everyone thinks. I am especially fond of the food from the Southern parts of the US. Must try!

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  16. Delicious Meeta!! My husband is a huge fan of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine...in fact, I just made a batch of chili not too long ago also! I wish I had seen your recipe before then!

    Funny, I remember years ago I had a work colleague from Nebraska and I ask her to explain American cuisine to me because I really wanted to know! I told her "I know it is more than hamburgers, so let me know...educate me!" :)

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    1. Did she?

      Well it looks like you will have to make him another pot of chili - this one!

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  17. I love true American food (must have something to do with the US vacations in my youth) and especially like you said: the melting pot of flavors and cuisines. This looks so comforting and perfect for the season, can almost smell it from my screen!

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    1. Glad you liked the recipe Denise and happy that the dish was able to bring back memories for you. xo

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  18. Chilli is definitely a comforting favourite here too! The last one I made had a cornbread topping so it was a complete meal in one :)

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    1. Oh yes I like the chili with corn bread topping in Nigella's Feast. It's an amazing recipe with a lot of memories attached to it.

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  19. I always think of American food as everywhere food. I grew up on clam chowdah (chowder for those of you not from New England), steamers (clams), lobster, cod fish and corn on the cob. And corned beef and cabbage, tacos, and chili, and paella, and beef bourguinon, and schnitzel mit spaetzle, and....cheeseburgers.
    Thanks. I hate it that American food gets defined by the McDonald's menu. Try some BBQ from the east coast through the west and it is apparent that our food is so much more.

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    1. Your comment simply reinstates the post perfectly. Where else will you find such a variety of cuisines incorporated into one.

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  20. What a wonderful recipe and gorgeous photos. I can't wait to see all the Monthly Mingle contributions!

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    1. The mingle roundup is up on Jenn's blog. Do check it out! Glad you liked the recipe.

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  21. This look mouthwatering delicious! I've been craving Chili for quite a while and I haven't been able to find it in Korea.

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    1. Well I hope you can make it from this recipe. Enjoy!

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  22. Mmmmm... bring it on. Living in the Texas for the past 6 years I have realized that the texmex in Texas is better than the texmex in the rest of the country. The flavors are noticeably richer and stronger and yes bring on the spice along with the natural warmth and friendliness of the people here.

    love the natural shadows in the photographs!

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    1. Yes I love the authentic TexMex food in Texas too, Soma. Glad you liked my recipe and images!

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  23. Yes! to the American food question - I tend to think sandwiches. Thanks for reminding me of the rich variety in American flavors and traditions! Plus... I love chili!

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    1. I think you were not alone with answering the question like that. But there is more for sure. Hope you give it a try.

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  24. Meeta this is just beautiful, and so are your thoughts on American food - I agree, there is a large variety and depth to American cuisine, and now I want some of this chili!

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    1. Jenn thanks! I am glad you chose this theme - hopefully it allowed people to think out of the box.

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  25. Meeta, we have been searching hard to find chipotle in Dubai. I think there is one other place I need to look... though the expansive location makes it a bit daunting - Galleries Lafayette. Chef Lij has access for his professional restaurant use through his suppliers but regular supermarkets dont seem to stock it here. Love chilli and the tasty spiciness of Tex Mex and Caribbean food!

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    1. I have ordered a bottle for you and hope it arrives before I leave. I am sure that Galleries Lafayette would be the right place to get it though. I remember there incredible spice range! Mine is from a lovely German supplier called Smaromi - exclusive spices!

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  26. I have black beans that need inspiration, so thanks for this recipe :)

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  27. We love chili in our family and I'm always looking for ways to add a little bit of variety. I'll definitely try this recipe. Also love the idea of adding feta cheese to it - we often add grated cheddar, but I think the feta will give it a great zing! Thanks.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta