Black Bean, Chorizo and Sweet Potato Chilli

It’s taken me ages to find black beans. They’re like the unicorn of UK supermarkets, yet they seem to be readily available in the US. Pretty much every supermarket I go in I like to take a quick wander down the canned vegetables isle but no luck, until I came across them in the ultra posh Booths in Ilkley and was so giddy I immediately bought two cans even though they were an eye-watering £1 each. That’s pricey for beans, come on.

Anyway. The first thing I’ve made with these is this chilli, it felt like most natural dish for them but I definitely want to try using them in stews, maybe with some beef, y’know… Anyway, this was gorgeous. The sweet potato and spicy chorizo work so well together, and then the beans added a really savoury bulkiness that meant you can comfortably eat this without a carby side. Or you can if you want. Either way it’s really good.

I find when you cook chorizo for a long time, it can loose its texture and taste and kind of go to mulch. So this recipe puts half the chorizo into the pan at the start, and then adds the remaining half at the end, so you can get the flavour payoff of the slow cook without losing the nicer texture.

Black Bean, Chorizo and Sweet Potato Chilli 

Serves 3-4 (or two with leftovers!)

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (as mine were in brine)
  • 1/2 chorizo sausage or a piece around 20 cm or so
  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 bell pepper – any colour
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 500g carton tomato passata
  • 2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube.
  • Black pepper and salt
  • Rapeseed oil or vegetable oil for frying

Preheat your oven to 120-150c. Chop and peel your sweet potatoes into 2cm or so chunks. Cube your pepper, onion and chorizo into smaller pieces and mince the garlic. In a large oven proof dish, heat a little oil and soften the pepper, onions, garlic together. Once they’ve gotten going add the sweet potato but don’t worry too much about softening it as it won’t really do anything until you get it into the oven in some liquid.

In a separate smaller frying pan cook half of your chorizo (you don’t need any oil) until sizzling and releasing all its tasty red oily juices. Once the vegetables are softened, add the chorizo to the pan with the delicious lovely oil and then add the tomatoes. Add the cayenne, smoked paprika, cumin and bay leaf and half your stock cube – be careful here as depending on your chorizo it may already be quite salty, so add a little at a time if you’re not sure.

Place mixture in the oven for an hour with the lid on. After an hour check the sweet potato should have cooked and become all silky within the sauce. Add your black beans and return to oven for another 10 minutes while you cook the remaining chorizo (always check the beans instructions – mine were ready to eat so just needed heating through). Once you’ve fried your remaining chorizo, add to the pan and then serve immediately.

I like to eat mine with just yoghurt and cheese but it would also be great with rice or a pita bread.

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