I’ve been a struggling vegetarian for years. This past New Year’s resolution was to cut the meat out completely, and to minimize the amount of dairy and eggs we eat. I don’t plan to be vegan, but to lean vegan. I came across this recipe by Crescent Dragonwagon on the St. Louis Today website. I made it for my husband last night and he LOVED it. He was very excited by the warm aromas coming from our apartment as he came up the stairs. I’ve made some adaptations for breastfeeding moms (which I am).
This recipe, like any good mole, has a complex flavor, with lots of room to play. Use this recipe, or tweak it and make it your own. The version I started with was very spicy, so I’ve turned down the heat to keep your nursling happy. Its full of nutritious ingredients for the whole family, but especially for nursing moms. Make it on the weekend to eat throughout the week, and the flavors will get better with time!
3 cans black beans, rinsed
10 to 12 cups vegetable stock or broth (see note)
2 bay leaves
1 ancho (dried poblano) chile, stemmed
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dark raisins
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped, optional – I omitted
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (see note)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano – I used much less because it can decrease milk supply.
1/8 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper or to taste (Be careful with the cayenne!)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika (see note)
1 tablespoon chili powder, preferably hot
a pinch of ground cloves
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 (15- to 16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 to 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, diced
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, preferably natural
1 tablespoon tahini or 2 tablespoons freshly toasted sesame seeds
1 chipotle chile in adobo, stemmed, optional – I omitted
2 teaspoons adobo sauce, optional – I omitted
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey, optional
1. Place beans in a large, heavy pot; add enough stock to cover them by 1 1/2 inches. Add bay leaves, ancho chile and a generous grinding of black pepper to taste.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Add the raisins. Continue cooking until the beans are nearly tender and the raisins have more or less disintegrated, 30 to 60 minutes longer.
3. About 20 minutes or so before the beans are done, place a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and, when it’s hot, onions. Sauté onions until they start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Stir in bell pepper, and poblano; sauté for 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, oregano, cayenne, anise seed, cinnamon, paprika, chili powder and a tiny pinch of cloves. Reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until it just becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
5. Scrape the sautéd ingredients into the simmering beans. Deglaze the sauté pot with a little bean stock, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return this liquid to the beans.
6. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the tomato paste to the bean pot and stir well. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then maintain at a simmer while you continue with the recipe.
7. Place chocolate, peanut butter, tahini, chipotle and adobo sauce in a food processor or blender. Add a generous ladleful of the simmering beans (including the whole ancho, if you can find it) and process to make a thick, highly seasoned paste.
8. Scrape the paste into the bean pot, turn the heat down as low as possible and add a generous portion of salt to taste. Simmer slowly, partially covered, until the seasonings are well blended, about 20 minutes longer.
9. Just before serving, pick out the bay leaves. Mash a couple of ladlefuls of the beans against the sides of the pot to thicken the chili or use an immersion blender. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary, adding agave syrup or honey if more sweetness is desired. Serve immediately or let come to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, overnight and reheat very gently the next day.
**For my next batch, I will use less cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp or less) and add the poblanos and chipotles with adobo sauce, to deepen the flavors.**
Per serving (based on 10): 340 calories; 12g fat; 2.5g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 14g protein; 48g carbohydrate; 12g sugar; 13g fiber; 915mg sodium; 93mg calcium.
Note: A 12-ounce bottle of beer can be substituted for 1 1/2 cups of the stock. If you don’t have coriander seeds, increase the amount of ground coriander to 3 1/2 teaspoons. Substitute 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika for 1/2 teaspoon of the sweet paprika, if desired.
Adapted from “Bean by Bean,” by Crescent Dragonwagon (Workman, 2012)