Gourmet Veggie Mama

Black bean chili… and jalapeno cheddar cornbread!

The other night, I had a yen for a hearty chili, so I put some black beans in to soak and dusted off a recipe from my new copy of The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook.*

* We’ve had Volume II for ages, but just picked this one up on PaperbackSwap.com, and it has some delicious-looking recipes in it, including this one.

When the hubby got home, I conscripted him into making a pan of jalapeno cheddar cornbread, using a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. We had all the ingredients, save one: buttermilk. I know you can add a little lemon juice to regular milk and use it in place of buttermilk, but I also had an unused carton of cream in the fridge, and Google told me that I could use it to make not only buttermilk, but butter, too! Worth a shot, right?

I filled a mason jar halfway with the cream, screwed the lid on, and started shaking. A few minutes later, I was the subject of hubby’s ridicule, and starting to doubt that this was going to work, but onward I pressed. All of a sudden, we were through the whipped cream stage, and the contents separated out into a chunk of butter and some lovely buttermilk — huzzah!

It doubles as a workout, too.

We used the butter for the cornbread, too — delicious!

Can you believe I made this??

You just have to press out of excess liquid under some cold water before storing it, though; otherwise it won’t keep for very long.

But anyway, back to the main event: the chili! While the rest of this unplanned drama proceeded, the chili was bubbling away on the stove. I used one of the year’s first CSA tomatoes, plus a couple of sweet peppers (ringo and purple bells) to add a little extra flavor, and I was quite pleased with the result. The beans took quite a lot longer to cook than the recipe recommended, but I’ve corrected for that in my version. As for the end product, it was delicious.

Chow down.

It was hearty, a little spicy, and smoky. We all loved it, even Nora.

Nom nom nom.

Yes, it appears our little Texas transplant has developed a taste for spicy foods — yee haw!

Black Bean Chili
Adapted from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook

2 cups dried black beans, rinsed and picked over for stones
2 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 colored sweet peppers, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp chili powder
6 cups water
2-4 dried chipotle chiles, or 2 canned chipotles in adobo
3 Tbs white vinegar
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp salt

Cover the beans with water and soak overnight, or for at least 6 hours.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the onions and peppers and stir until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and tomato and saute for a couple minutes longer, then stir in the bay leaves, cumin, and chili powder.

Drain the beans and place them in a heavy soup pot. Add 6 cups of fresh water and stir in the onion mixture, the chipotles, the vinegar, and the brown sugar. Simmer the beans over low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until almost tender. Add the salt and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, or until tender to the bite, but not mushy.

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8 Thoughts on “Black bean chili… and jalapeno cheddar cornbread!

  1. evahowe on June 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm said:

    You can also just dump the cream into a stand mixer turn it on and walk away until you hear swishy sounds like the butter is separating. Saves your arms! 🙂 I love to add a bit of sea salt to the butter and have it on a baguette – so tasty!

  2. There must have been something in the air as I recently had a hankering for black beans and rice so we had it last week. Next time I need to do cornbread with it though. We missed out.

  3. Isn’t paperbackswap awesome? I’m … I think I’m jesterqueen there like everywhere else :). We go to a farm every year with my daughter’s school, and the kids get to shake the cream into butter and buttermilk. Sounds like a YUMMY homemade substitute that also happened to be the real thing!

  4. I have to explain the substitution every time we post a recipe with buttermilk. I like this idea and hadn’t seen it. Buttermilk is a staple in our house, but I shared this on Facebook because I know not everyone has it on hand. Oh and the food looks fabulous.

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