Over the years, Mary and I have gotten in the habit of making chili with pounds of ground chuck and sausage, but we both agree that a robustly flavored smokey black bean chili can be every bit as satisfying as the meat-ladened version, and healthier too! Feel free to use a variety of beans if you so desire.
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cups chopped onions (3 medium onions)
4 cups coarsely chopped red and green bell peppers (about 4 medium)
2 teaspoons sea salt
12 garlic cloves, chopped (3 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Chipotle powder or hot sauce to taste
Four 14.5-ounce fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
Four 15-ounce organic black beans, drained
One 14-ounce organic chicken or veggie broth
3 tablespoons organic cacao powder
2 tablespoons blond coconut palm sugar or a drizzle of agave nectar
Fresh lime juice to taste
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers. Season with 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Sauté until onions soften, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and chipotle powder (or hot sauce). Stir and simmer for 2 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes, beans, broth and remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt. Stir in the cacao powder and coconut sugar. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with lime juice, and more hot sauce and sea salt if necessary.
Ladle chili into bowls. (We like to serve it over quinoa). Pass chopped cilantro, grated cheese, and green onions separately.