This black bean chile recipe is inspired by Deborah Madison’s and Edward Espe Brown’s The Greens Cookbook, which they wrote many years ago to present recipes from their celebrated San Francisco vegetarian restaurant. In its original form this is a vegetarian recipe, but it adapts well to braises and the addition of meat. Here we are using ground lamb. It also works well with braised short ribs, or cubes of beef chuck or round. I have even used ground turkey. This recipe relies on good quality canned black beans and ground ancho powder so that it can be quickly put together at the end of a busy day for a nourishing late winter (or early spring) stew. If you have the time to soak the beans overnight and to grind your own anchos (the dried form of the poblano chile) the effort is worth it.
Santa Fe Lamb Black Bean Chile
4 TBS ground ancho chile powder
1 tsp ground dried chipotle powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 TBS vegetable oil
2 C Onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 28 oz can diced or ground tomatoes
2 16 oz cans black beans
1 LB ground lamb
Mix together the ancho chile powder with ground chipotle, cumin, coriander and oregano, mixing well, then set aside.
Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the oil and let it get hot. Add the onions and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chile powder mixture to the onions. Mix well. Add the tomatoes to the onions and heat through. Add the beans to the mixture. Brown the ground lamb and drain off the fat then add to the stew stirring thoroughly.
Reduce to a simmer and cook for at least a half hour. If you prefer your stew to be thinner add water or beef stock.
Garnish with oven warmed tortilla chips, sour cream, cilantro, scallions, and shredded cheddar or jack cheese.