Slow Cooker Everyday Challenge: Day 3, Black Bean and Mushroom Chili

I’m going to aim for being a poster child in brevity today. Everything that comes spewing out of my mouth this afternoon seems slurred and clouded, because I am presently exhausted. Our school has felt like a cesspool of bacteria, and I’ve been fighting (and gradually winning, I might add) a severely disadvantaged battle against the crud clogging my head. Disadvantaged because it’s making it practically impossible to sleep; even Nyquil isn’t doing the trick. One might say a wise person would bag the blog and go to bed, but the truth is, this little slow-cooker-all-week challenge is the brightest spot in the day right now.

Before I get more tangential or crush the chances of achieving aforementioned brevity by prematurely boasting about it, back to the point of this post: daily slow cooking continues to rock! Day 3 was another savory Eating Well recipe, a zesty and throat-calming, nourishing black bean and mushroom chili. It required slightly more prep time than yesterday’s chicken stew, but the 20 minutes sauteeing was nothing compared to usual active time cooking, and was accomplished the previous night. The next morning, it was fridge to crockpot and done. The beautiful, rich, deep color matches the flavor. It also reminded me somehow of Oxtail soup, which is odd because as far as I can tell I don’t like Oxtail soup, but I really like this chili. And that’s it. That’s all I need to say. : )

Black Bean and Mushroom Chili from Eating Well, adapted slightly

  • 1 pound dried black beans, (2 1/2 cups), rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, or ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, or ground cardamom
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 1/2 cups mushroom broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  1. Soak beans overnight in 2 quarts water. (Alternatively, place beans and 2 quarts water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.) Drain the beans, discarding soaking liquid.
  2. Combine oil, mustard seeds, chili powder, cumin and cardamom in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Place over high heat and stir until the spices sizzle, about 30 seconds. Add onions, mushrooms, tomatillos and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are juicy, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and stir often until the juices evaporate and the vegetables are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add broth, tomato paste and chipotles; mix well.
  3. Place the beans in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour the hot vegetable mixture over the beans. Turn heat to high. Put the lid on and cook until the beans are creamy, 5 to 8 hours.
  4. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. Stovetop Variation: Total: 4 1/2 hours In Step 2, increase broth to 81/2 cups. Omit Step 3. Add the beans to the Dutch oven; cover and simmer the chili gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are creamy to bite, about 3 hours.

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