Black Bean Chili

February 25, 2015
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Last weekend, I was huffing and puffing up the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park. What a stunning desert wilderness. The natural light, the scenery, the plant world, it was all breathtaking and beautiful.

Mind you, I felt somewhat on edge with the warning of mountain lions. “You won’t see them, even if they’re in the grass looking at you,” the park ranger had said. It didn’t help. But the weather did.

It was sunny, not too hot, and simply delightful. We picnicked, and opened a bottle of wine when the sunset colored the sky in smashing vibrant colors of yellow and orange.

The drive back to Houston was long and tedious. To make matters worse, it was increasingly overcast, and the sky was a cold grey blanket by the time we reached Houston.

In those 8 or so driving hours, temperatures dropped from a balmy 75F to below 50F. Chilled to the bone in my t-shirt and shorts, all I wanted was a hearty, warming black bean chili by the blazing fireplace.

Chipotle, Eggplant & Black Bean Chili
(recipe for 3-4)

  • 1 tbsp (or to taste) Chipotle paste (I use it from a jar)
  • 2 lbs cooked black beans
  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 1 eggplant, diced small
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cup peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin and ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a casserole. Add the onions and cook them over medium-low heat until soft.

Add the eggplant, and bring up the heat. Stirring regularly, brown the eggplant for about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, the ground bison, and all spices, including the chipotle.

Cook for about 7-8 minutes over medium heat, or until the meat has crumbled and the bell pepper softened. Add the tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Stir all around. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Taste and add seasoning. Stir in the beans and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with condiments like chopped fresh cilantro, chopped green onion, sour cream, and homemade guacamole.

Recipe from


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