This smoky and spicy black bean chilli with chipotle paste is quick, easy and so versatile - a jacket potato filling, in fajitas or tacos, with rice and guacamole, or tortilla chips.
A chipotle, (pronounced chi-POT-lee), is a smoke-dried jalapeño chilli, used in many Mexican recipes. Chipotle paste, (which is fairly easy to find in supermarkets these days), has a distinctive smoky flavour, and adds a lovely warm and deep spice to a simple chilli like this one.
This quick and easy chilli is incredibly versatile, I use it as a jacket potato filling, in fajitas or tacos, with rice and guacamole for a Mexican feast, or scooped up in a handful of tortilla chips for a speedy lunch.
What you need to make your Black Bean Chilli
Chipotle paste Smoky, deep and spicy - this really is the star of the show in this simple chilli. It is widely available in supermarkets these days, look for the Mexican foods section, or near the spices.
Tinned black beans These have a fantastic texture and are packed with protein and a good source of fibre. If you can't find any, kidney beans, borlotti or even cannellini beans would all be a good substitute.
Ready-chopped garlic This is a '20 minute meal' recipe, so I've specified ready-chopped garlic from a jar or tube just to save time. However if you do have a bit more time, using a freshly crushed garlic clove will really enhance the flavour. Just keep the heat fairly gentle so it doesn't burn and turn bitter.
Chopped tomatoes I find there's quite a difference in the quality of tinned tomatoes. If I'm cooking something long and slow (like my Borlotti Bean Chilli) where most of the liquid cooks down and reduces, using cheap and slightly watery chopped tomatoes doesn't matter too much. However, for a quick recipe like this one you really do want some thick and rich tomato sauce so it is worth splashing out on the best tin you can. I sometimes use a tin of cherry tomatoes which are really delicious and the tomato juice they come in is very thick and tomatoey.
Fresh coriander If you have time, instead of discarding the coriander stalks, chop them finely and add them in to the chilli when you add the pepper. They add an extra fresh flavour to the chilli for not much more work.
Sugar You always need a little sweetness when cooking a tomato sauce, to balance out the acidity. Sometimes I use date syrup which also adds a fruity note and darkens the sauce a little, or if you don't use sugar you could add a natural sweetener like stevia instead. You only need a pinch, but the balance of the sauce does need sweetness.
Can I freeze my Chipotle Black Bean Chilli?
Absolutely! This freezes really well, so if you want to batch-cook over the weekend, you could double or treble this recipe and bag it up in individual portions, pop it in the freezer once cool, and enjoy over and over again for dinner in a hurry.
Warning - freezing spicy foods tends to tone down the chilli somewhat, so be bold with the chipotle paste!
What else can I make with Chipotle Paste?
If you bought a jar of chipotle paste for this recipe but you're not sure what else to do with it, how about trying my Easy Vegan Enchiladas (which also use black beans!), or my Chipotle-Chocolate Beany Burritos - if you haven't tried a bit of chocolate stirred through a spicy Mexican stew you really do need to give this a try, it is incredible!
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Chipotle Black Bean Chilli
- 1 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 1 red onion
- 1 carrot
- handful fresh coriander
- 1 tsp ready-chopped garlic / garlic purée
- 2-3 tsp chipotle paste (to your taste – 3 tsp is fairly spicy)
- 1 red pepper
- 400 g tin black beans
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- pinch sugar
- salt and black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan or casserole. Peel the onion and carrot, and separate the coriander stalks from the leaves, (setting leaves aside for later).
- Use a mini-chopper or food processor to chop the onion, carrot and coriander stalks then add to the pan.
- Add the garlic and chipotle paste to the pan and stir.
- De-seed and finely slice the pepper and add to the pan.
- Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the pan.
- Tip in the chopped tomatoes and sugar, then season well with salt and black pepper. Stir then cover with a lid and turn up to a high heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Finely chop the coriander leaves and stir through the chilli before serving with rice, fajitas or a handful of tortilla chips.
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