This delicious, hardy dish has flavors similar to chili, with the texture and consistency of a thick chowder. I love it! Top with avocado and/or Sour Un-Cream.
I have made this using both canned black beans and beans I made from scratch with the pressure cooker. As is usually the case, I preferred the version with the homemade beans. If you have a pressure cooker, it’s SO easy. Soak 1 pound of dried black beans overnight or 6 hours (some say soaking isn’t necessary but I always do). Rinse and place in your pressure cooker and add just enough water to cover the top of the beans – the water should be just touching the beans. Add 4 cloves crushed garlic, a few bay leaves and 2 tsp cumin seeds. Cook at high pressure 14 minutes, and let the pressure come down naturally. Beans are done! Makes about 5 cups of black beans. Remove the bay leaves, stir and add the whole batch to the rest of the Chili Chowder ingredients.
I order my dried beans online from Rancho Gordo, a farm in Northern California. They are heirloom beans, which are open-pollinated seeds that can be planted and you’ll get the exact same bean. They tend to have a lower yield and can be much more difficult to grow but the pay off is in the unique flavors and textures that you don’t find with bland commodity beans. They are always fresh too, which is great. You never know how old the beans at the grocery store are, and old beans can take forever to cook. I highly recommend Rancho Gordo beans. It’s fun to experiment with all the different varieties they offer. Now get cooking!
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted toasting optional. See Notes.
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce use 2 for more heat; 1 for less
- 1 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 cups fresh corn 3 ears; or frozen corn
- 1 4 oz. can green chiles
- 4 1/2 - 5 cups cooked black beans See Notes
- 3-4 cups water start with 3
- salt to taste
- lime, sour un-cream and avocado for garnish; optional
- In a large dry soup pot, saute onion on medium heat until translucent, adding small amounts of water to loosen onion and deglaze the pan. Sautéing onion with oil is unnecessary and simply adds extra fat.
- Add garlic, oregano, cumin seeds and smoked paprika to onion and cook another minute or two.
- To soup pot add beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, chipotle peppers, and water.
- Bring soup to a boil and lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes or so. The longer you simmer, the better the flavors come together.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it's nice and thick, making sure not to over do it - leave some chunks. If you don't have an immersion blender, place 2 cups of soup in a blender, process, and add back to the pot.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and, if desired, top with a squeeze of lime, sour un-cream and a little avocado or guacamole.
If you aren't using homemade beans (see how to make your own in the blog portion of this recipe above), use 3 cans of beans. DO NOT DRAIN. In this dish, the bean liquid adds to the flavor and texture of the finished product.
Toasting the cumin really brings out the earthy flavors. Simply place seeds in a dry skillet and toast for a few minutes over low-medium heat, tossing seeds often to avoid burning.