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Fantastic Black Bean Chili

Fantastic Black Bean Chili

Everything I make has to be heart healthy. It’s got to be low in salt, fat and triglycerides. High blood pressure and heart disease is how my family dies. It’s also how we live, in fear of having a heart attack. Between my grandpa, my dad, my uncle and the high blood pressure of even my siblings I think we’re up to 7 or so angioplasties. It’s genetic. I’m sure there are other, better ways to go, but our way out is right through the heart.

Because of this, I don’t know how to cook any other way. Everyone in my family chooses their food with their hearts in mind because we have to. Jonathan Safran Foer wrote a beautiful short story that describes my relationship with the men in my family and their heart disease perfectly.

Maybe it’s this history that made walking through Fairway so difficult for me last night. I had no idea what to make for dinner. I browsed the fish, the salmon looked okay, the sea scallops and tuna were on sale. I immediately thought okay, tuna, a little sesame oil, sesame seeds, lightly cooked on both sides, but $19.99/lb? Should I? Didn’t we just have fish?  A, specifically asked for chicken. I picked up chicken and I thought, low fat chicken parmesian baked? Too much effort. I ended up getting ground turkey. Then I passed the the beans. I got some black beans. I figured it’s a good start. With these two ingredients, plus onions, garlic and spices, I could come up with something. Not knowing what to make, I scoured the internet and found this:


And the word “fantastic” in that link is not hyperbole. This black bean chili IS fantastic! I actually happened upon a quick, easy fantastically flavorful chili. You don’t need to let it simmer for hours in a slow cooker, you don’t need different types of beans, although I think adding a red or white bean would really make this superb.

With, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (I use olive); 1 onion, diced; 2 cloves garlic minced (I always use way more); 1 pound ground turkey, 3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, undrained; 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I used garlic and onion tomatoe sauce); 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (always go with more, always go with smoked); 1 tablespoon dried or fresh oregano (and/or thyme, basil, rosemary), and a little red wine vinegar, or red wine; you’ve got yourself a deeply flavored and richly textured dinner for a few nights. I also added cumin, italian seasoning, chipotle and jalepeno peppers– be sure to remove the seeds to avoid going into shock. Let it all simmer for about 40 minutes and serve.

Lean poultry and fish are staples in my diet and I’m constantly excited about the new ways I can find in which to incorporate them, reinvent them and present them.