I whip out this dish when I crave Chili Con Carne, but am all out of ground meat. And since this version is just as hearty, I don’t miss it. The beans are the star here and I use whichever I have on hand—kidney, pinto, black, or a combination of these—it doesn’t matter. (Kidney beans are shown in photo above.) Though it only takes about 15 minutes to bring all of the basic elements together, a long simmering time is essential—to allow time for the beans to break down and thicken the sauce. This recipe as written has a mildly spicy kick. Give it “medium”, fan-your-mouth heat by leaving the jalapeño core intact before dicing. For thrill-seekers, try “hot” heat by doubling the chili powder too.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium (6-ounce) red sweet bell pepper, chopped
1 medium (6-ounce) onion, chopped
1 medium (1-ounce) jalapeño pepper, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
15 ounces canned beans
15 ounces crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small (5-ounce) avocado
1/2 ounce fresh cilantro
large (5-quart) pot
1. Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering – about 2 minutes.
2. Add bell pepper, onion, jalapeño, and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender – about 5 minutes.
3. Add beans and tomatoes. Season with cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne. Stir well, then let cook until boiling – about 8 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces by half – about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel then chop avocado and chop cilantro.
5. Serve garnished with avocado and cilantro.
NOTES & TIPS
• In the right light, hot oil looks faintly iridescent; it “shimmers”. The surface also develops faint ripples. Don’t see it? Drop a tiny bit of chopped veggies in the skillet. If oil immediately froths up, it is hot enough to cook with.
• Try serving with a dollop of salsa fresca.