Wild Caribbean Black Bean Chili Recipe

The flavors in this chili were unexpectedly stunning. The recipe sounded good on paper, but really-this was the best combination of flavors I've tasted in quite some time: A base of black beans surrounded by a sauce bursting with orange juice, lime juice, and the blistering tropical flavored heat of a solid dose of minced bright-orange habaneros. Delicious.

Unfortunately the way the recipe reads, you end up with more of a thin soup than a hearty, thick chili. I like a chili with substance, and lots and lots of beans. The more beans the better.

I followed the recipe as written until the last step-then all bets were off. I actually had to eat this for dinner (and take the leftovers on a 24 hour backpacking trip the next day). To start, I sauteed the onions, garlic, and habaneros. The vapors coming off those habaneros were so strong, there were a couple minutes where I had to catch my breath because my nasal passage seemed to seize up. It was invigorating in a way. Next, I added all sorts of great flavors to this base; chili powder, ground cumin, sugar, orange and lime juice, and crushed tomatoes. In went the black beans.

This is where things got a bit off kilter. There I am looking in the big pot filled with and endless pool of delicious sauce, and I can just about count the beans. I calculated that you might be lucky to get a bean or two per spoonful. So I took the liberty of adding double the amount of beans. Problem solved. Just the right bean to sauce ratio for someone like me.

The final step was to add six cups (!) of water to what now looks like a perfect pot of chili. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I added 1/2 cup or so...just enough to dilute some of the heat in the sauce....I could have used more crushed tomatoes now that I think of it-next time, that might be a better call.

With these couple tweaks, this was delicious - the texture, the smell, the flavors - all great.

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To feature an actual recipe taken from a cookbook, it is best to request permission from the publisher or author. In the early days on 101 Cookbooks, I would tell people where to find the recipe, but not feature the recipe itself. Eventually I began to request permission to run the actual recipes, but this wasn't one of them. The majority of entries on 101 Cookbooks will have the recipes attached, this just happens to be one of the ones that doesn't. My apologies!

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