Beef and Black Bean Chili

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Beef and Black Bean Chili
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Here's a full-flavored chili with just a touch of heat. If your kids don't like theirs too spicy, use only about three-quarters of the Southwest Seasoning Mix and save the rest to season other Tex-Mex dishes. The Buttermilk Skillet Corn Bread makes a subtly sweet complement to the chili.

What you'll need

  • CHILI:
  • Southwest Seasoning Mix (see below)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups V8 or tomato juice
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups beef or chicken stock
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked black or red beans
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and/or chopped parsley, for garnish
  • SOUTHWEST SEASONING MIX:
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoond dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

How to make it

  1. In a small bowl, blend all of the ingredients for the Southwest Seasoning Mix, then set the bowl aside.

  2. Heat a medium-size casserole or Dutch oven. Add the ground beef and brown over medium heat for several minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a small bowl and set it aside.

  3. If there's very little fat left in the pan, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the onion and green pepper and saute over moderate heat for 8 to 9 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and seasoning mix, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients and the reserved meat, using enough stock to achieve a consistency that is neither too thin nor too thick. Bring the mixture to a simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often. Thin the chili with a little more stock if necessary. Serve hot with the garnishes. Makes 6 servings.

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