This recipe also makes EXACTLY one metric fuckton. We ate 1.5 bowls each, froze half of what was left, and still have about 5-6 servings left over. And that was *after* I took two ladlefuls of beans out because they didn't fit in the slow cooker! Next time I shall cut the recipe exactly in half. It claims to serve 6 to 8; I think, perhaps, it serves 6 to 8 very large, very hungry, teenage boys. Double that number for the rest of us.
Cooking equipment required: a large Dutch oven or soup pot and a large slow cooker. If the recipe is halved, it will actually fit into the pot I started off with and my slow cooker.
This is from the Cook's Illustrated Make-Ahead Recipes 2010 issue, which I highly recommend
8 slices bacon, chopped
2 onions, chopped fine
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
6 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
1 1-1.5 pound boneless ham
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons juice from 2 limes
1. Cook bacon in Dutch oven [note: make that a LARGE Dutch oven as you'll need the space - the bean will triple in size!] until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate [note: and try to keep yourself from eating it]. Cook onions, peppers, and jalapenos in bacon fat until softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer half of sauteed vegetables to medium bowl, wrap with plastic, and reserve in refrigerator. Add chili powder, cumin, and oregano to pot with remaining vegetables and cook until deeply fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in water, broth, 2 teaspoons salt, dried beans, ham, and bacon. Bring bean mixture to boil and let simmer 15 minutes.
[Note: I am scared of spicy things, so I cut the chili powder to 1 tablespoon and informed myrialux that he could add more to his bowl. I did not realize at the time how much black bean chili this would make. There is no heat whatsoever in it at 1 tablespoon. Next time I will cut the amount of chili powder to half of what's called for, instead of a quarter, and test that, although I think it's not meant to be particularly spicy and I might be able to take it with the full amount of spice. Plz to be noting, anyone considering telling me that I should be able to jump right in to the full amount, that (a) lots of times when people tell me something is not spicy to them, it is very spicy to me, and (b) I can't take spicy because it makes me sick to my stomach.]
2. Transfer bean mixture to slow cooker and arrange piece of foil on surface of liquid [note: this keeps the beans on top submerged in the liquid so they cook fully, although I forgot to do it and they cooked just fine]. Cover and cook on low until beans are tender, 7-9 hours (or cook on high 4 to 6 hours) [note: or, if you're me, forget to turn the temp from 'low' to 'high' and cook on low for 5 hours, but have it work out just fine because the crockpot runs hot].
3. Remove lid, discard foil, and transfer ham to cutting board. Stir tomatoes into slow cooker, cover, and cook on high until tomatoes soften, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer canned beans to bowl and mash with potato masher until rough paste forms. Chop or shred ham into bite-size pieces. Stir mashed beans, ham, lime juice, and refrigerated vegetables into slow cooker. Cook, covered, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve.
The magazine recommends serving it with sour cream, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, and fresh cilantro. The mashed canned beans thickens the chili, as the slow cooker doesn't let much liquid evaporate, but the full 10 cups of liquid is needed to cook 1.5 pounds of beans.
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