Thursday, January 19, 2006

Serrano Salsa

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Black Bean Chili (Serves 4 to 6)

The spices in this recipe are for a fairly hot chili, but you can adjust the amount of red chili peppers to your taste. Add fresh pineapple or orange for a zesty and surprising variation!
Oh ­ you can also use pinto or red kidney beans with this recipe.

1 1/2 cups dry black beans (360 mil.)
2 Tbs. Canola oil (30 mil.)
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 Tbs. ground cumin (15 mil.)
1 Tbs. dried oregano (15 mil.)
3 Tbs. chili powder (45 mil.)
1 tsp. crushed red chili peppers (5 mil.)
2 cups crushed tomatoes (460 mil.)
3 jalapeno chili peppers, minced
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple or orange (optional) (230 mil.)
2 Tbs. tamari (15 mil.)
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Sort through the beans for stones, which should be discarded. Rinse the beans and cover them with water in a large heavy pot. Bring to a full boil, drain and rinse again. Place in a pot with 6 cups (1.5 liters) of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.

When the beans have cooked for 1 hour, heat the oil in a large skillet. Sauté the garlic and onions over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. When the onions begin to look translucent, lower the heat to medium and stir in cumin, oregano chili powder, and crushed red chili pepper. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then add tomatoes and jalapenos. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir this chili sauce into the pot of beans. Add pineapple or orange if using. Simmer partially covered for another hour until beans are soft. Adjust the tastes to your liking. If you want more spice, add more jalapenos and crushed red pepper. As the chili simmers, keep the consistency as thick as stew by adding more water if necessary. Flavor with tamari and freshly ground pepper before serving. Garnish with cilantro.

Thanks to Bettina Vitell for this recipe, and the three recipes below, which you¹ll find in her vegetarian cookbook "A Taste Of Heaven And Earth"! When you order Bettina¹s book, believe me, your dinner guests will hail you as a gourmet chef! To find out why this book was nominated for the Julia Child Cookbook Award(!), and learn more about Bettina¹s Zen approach to cooking and eating, visit

(This recipe is fairly hot)

4 Serrano chili peppers
1 cup finely chopped plum tomatoes (230 mil.)
3 Tbs. tomato paste (45 mil.)
1/3 cup finely sliced scallions (75 mil.)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro (30 mil.)
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (30 mil.)
1/2 cup water (120 mil.)
Freshly ground pepper

Remove the veins and seeds of the peppers before mincing them. Combine all the ingredients, adding the serrano peppers last, one tablespoon at a time, to adjust the hotness. This recipe is fairly hot, and fresh serrano peppers vary in strength. So always taste as you go along to adjust for the spiciness of the salsa!


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