California Black Bean Chili

I love black beans. They are my bean of choice. A few years back I searched and searched for a recipe to try out. I had had some wonderful soup in San Antonio on the Riverwalk. It was the first time I had had black beans. It was called Black and White beans...white cheddar....I was in love. I found the recipe for the soup a few years later. It will be shared this winter. All that just to note that I had discovered the wonderfulness of black beans!

My normal method is to find a few recipes that I think would be great and then combine them to make my own recipe. This time I started off with just one recipe that looked tasty. These beans are great for a potluck or as an accompaniment to a barbecue or Southwestern menu. This is a recipe that, over the years, has morphed from the original. I love the flavor and the spiciness of this dish! I am posting the original along with the changes that I have made.

California Black Bean Chili

4 cups black beans, washed and picked over
3 long green chiles or 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1 jalapeno chile, roasted, seeded, and chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Place the beans in a large pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and then cover, reducing heat. Cook for 1 hour, adding liquid as necessary.

Using a long-handled fork, char the fresh chiles over an open flame, turning them for 2-3 minutes, or until the skins are blackened. Or, place the peppers on a broiler pan and broil about 2 inches from the heat until the skins are blackened, turning frequently. This will take about 15 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a plastic bag, close tightly, and let them steam until they are cool enough to handle and peel, Remove the seeds and chop the chiles.

Add the chiles, onions, garlic, tomatoes, oregano , cumin, cayenne, and salt to the beans, with more liquid if needed to keep moist. Cook, covered, for another 2-2 1/2 hours, until the beans are very soft. Stir in the cilantro when ready to serve.

Accompany with grated Jack cheese, sour cream, and chopped red or green onions, if desired. (No, the black olives are not for the chili...they were for something else!)

Depending on the amount of time I have I do make adjustments.
1) I have charred the chiles and I have used a can of chiles. Each works well.
2) I recently substituted 3 cans of drained Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies for the 3 tomatoes. That turned out great.
3) When increasing the liquid, I always use chicken stock or broth whichever is in the pantry or freezer.
4) I add 1 1/2 lb of Louisiana hot sausage, removed from casings and made into small chunks.
5) I always watch the "heat" on this dish. If it seems to warm, I omit the cayenne pepper.


This black bean dish has always been a hit.
The recipe is very forgiving as you can see by the multiple variations!

I am participating in Foodie Friday hosted at Designs by Gollum. Stop by and take a look at all of the fantastic dishes being prepared today.


  1. I like recipes that you can play around with. Black beans are the staple ingredient and they go so well with everything.
    Ever used them to make a black bean and corn salsa? Oh ya, that is good.

  2. *drool* I have to get me some black beans..

  3. Hi Kate - Both of us were thinking "black beans" yesterday. They are a favorite of mine too so I'll be trying out your chili recipe. I like your addition of hot sausage.

    Happy Foodie Friday

  4. What a marvelous recipe and it certainly is timely. It damp and cold here and this is a perfect Friday supper. Thanks.

  5. I love black beans too. I usually don't eat meat because of cholesterol problems---but will occasionally have fish or chicken. So this recipe, without the sausage would be good for me ;-)

  6. What a GREAT!!! chili recipe.

  7. This looks so good...I am saving this one.


  8. @nannykim: I would bet you could substitute in a chipotle chili with adobo for the sausage and it would be just as good!


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