You need a good black bean chili recipe in your repertoire. Our favorite bowl comes from The White Hart Inn in Salisbury, CT. It's incredible and when we learned of all the steps involved that make it so special, we realized there's a reason it's so crave-worthy - wow, it's involved (roasting chilis, grinding spices...).
So, we took inspiration and created a pared down version of our own. And, instead of topping with sour cream or cheddar cheese, we've made a vegan version with a fresh cashew crema that cools things down.
- 1 lb of dried beans, rinsed (soaking optional) - about 2 cups dried
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 garlic cloves (3 for cooking beans, 2 for sautéing with onion)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons chili powder (we like ancho chili powder)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 25oz can of whole tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Finishing: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked (can do this while cooking chili)
- 1/2 cup of ice cold water
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Drain and rinse the black beans and pick out any debris. Then placed the beans in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Add aromatics (peeled garlic cloves and bay leaf). Bring to a simmer and cook until tender (~40 min). Once ready, press the cooked garlic with a wooden spoon on the edge of the pan and mix with the beans. Then remove bay leaf from the pot.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan or another large pot and saute the onions until translucent (~5 min). Add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Add salt, pepper, and ground spices (except cinnamon) and cook for another 5 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and their juices to the spiced onion mix and cook everything together for another 15 minutes.
Add the cooked beans to the mixture (without the cooking liquid) and add about 1 cup of water to the pan. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 1hr or so, stirring often and adding water as needed.
Add the cinnamon and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Make the cashew crema. It's best to use soaked cashews, even if they've just been sitting in water during the time that you're making the chili. This helps create a smoother consistency. Start by draining the cashews. Add them to a high speed blender, along with all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Serve the chili with a spoonful of cashew crema. Add fresh chopped cilantro and and pickled onions for extra color and flavor!