Black bean chili that sticks to your ribs

This hearty vegetarian black bean chili combines sweet with heat, and is chock full of corn and carrots too.

 

There is nothing that I like better on a cold January night than a big bowl of chili. It’s hearty and warming and reminds you that a substantial meal does more than just fill the belly.

I got the idea for adding molasses to my chili from one of our Facebook friends who balances the extreme heat and spice of her chili recipe with molasses. I also have a family friend who makes his chili with molasses baked beans so there is a good dose of sweet with the heat.

You’ll see that the tangy sweetness of molasses pairs beautifully with tomatoes. It softens their tart acidity and adds flavour with just the right substance.

This recipe is vegetarian but works with ground beef or ground turkey as well. Just add a bit more broth or even another can of tomatoes if you find yours too thick. As well, feel free to mix up the beans. Kidney beans or a blend of beans makes for a great variation.

Serve it with this cornbread for a delicious, filling meal.

 

This hearty vegetarian black bean chili combines sweet with heat, and is chock full of corn and carrots too.

Black bean chili

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds (or 2 tsp ground cumin)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • Cayanne pepper to taste
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 1 28 oz can or 24 oz bottle of tomatoes (prepared tomato sauce will do)
  • 1 cup broth or water
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (about 1 ½ cans)
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • ½ Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice and zest of ½ a lime
  1. In a big pot over medium heat saute the onions until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, spices, oregano and bay leaf and stir for a minute then add the carrots.
  3. Cover for 10 minutes, stirring a few times.
  4. Add corn, tomatoes, beans, broth and chipotle (if using) and let simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the vinegar and molasses. Thin with more broth if it’s too thick for your liking.
  6. Season with salt and decide if it needs more heat (cayenne) or sweet (molasses)
  7. Add the lime zest and juice and cilantro.

Serve with grated cheese and cornbread. Don’t forget to fish out the chipotle chili so nobody eats it whole.

Chili is adaptable so feel free to add any kind of beans or vegetables. Cubed sweet potato or squash are delicious too.

 This hearty vegetarian black bean chili combines sweet with heat, and is chock full of corn and carrots too.

Molasses glazed stuffed mushrooms with feta and thyme

molasses glazed stuffed mushrooms with feta and thyme

I once went to a dinner party at a friend’s place where the theme was “stuffed”, so every course was, you guessed it, some sort of edible thing filled with something else edible: tomatoes stuffed with chevre, herbs and breadcrumbs, peppers stuffed with some delicious rice, spice, vegetable mixture, a homemade orange sorbet frozen into perfectly hollowed out orange peels. And by the end of the meal we were all stuffed.

This kind of stuffing requires a bit of knife skill and patience, which my friend Kate has in spades. I’m much better at the mushroom sort of stuffing, which is really more like piling things on. It’s effortless, like tossing clothes onto a chair in your room.

Pair these mushrooms with marinated tomatoes and a hearty grain salad for a delicious meatless meal.

Molasses Glazed Stuffed Mushrooms with feta and thyme

  • 6 portabella mushroom caps, stem bits trimmed
  • Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar or plum vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 Tbsp Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
  • Filling:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup panko or good quality bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped or ½ tsp. dried
  • ½-3/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley to sprinkle over

Place mushroom caps on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 10-20 minutes to sweat out some of the moisture (so they won’t be rubbery).

Baste with the marinade and place in the oven for another five minutes. Remove from oven and baste again. Pop back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Saute onion in oil until soft but not brown, adding garlic when the onion is just about ready. Add panko or bread crumbs and toss to coat. Add thyme, remove from heat and season with salt & pepper.

Sprinkle feta over mushroom caps, dividing it evenly among them.

Sprinkle over bread crumb mixture and return caps to the oven, baking just long enough to warm through (about 10 minutes).

Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.  By the way, marinated tomatoes are delicious alongside these mushrooms, and they look lovely on the plate together.