Off-the-charts Black Bean Chili

If chili has lost its luster, this recipe is sure to make it sparkle again.

Credit: Catherine Roscoe Barr

Spice up your black bean chili with spicy Italian sausage

This easy chili recipe has a special ingredient – chipotle peppers – that adds a huge wow factor and makes it stand out from regular old run-of-the-mill chili

My mom is the best cook in the world and because she stayed at home when we were kids we had the most amazing home-cooked meals every night (I can almost count the number of times we dined out as kids on both hands).

We were equally lucky to be involved in all kinds of extracurricular activities, from athletics to music, and were never summoned for help in the kitchen. When I ventured out into the world for the first time I could play a piano sonata, compete in track and field, and fold any kind of origami dinosaur – but I was hopeless in the kitchen.

My first summer away from home, I had an amazing job with Albera Environment as a park interpreter. I got to do guided hikes every day in the spectacular foothills surrounding beautiful Beauvais Lake. And for four months I survived almost solely on the limited meals in my repetoire: mostly shepherd’s pie and chili.

It literally took me years before I could stomach chili again (I don’t think I’ve had sheperd’s pie since) and this recipe is so different and so incredibly delicious that me and chili are totally cool again. I adapted this recipe from the Canadian Living’s Best Soups And Stews cookbook.

This is the recipe I alluded to earlier in which you can use the leftover chipotle peppers from the chipotle shrimp recipe from Mexican Fiesta night.

Make sure to buy the spicy Italian sausage that isn’t encased. I stumbled upon this after a long time of struggling with the messy job of squeezing the meat out of the casing.


  • 500g spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 chipotle peppers, diced
  • 1 lrg can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • sour cream to taste
  • 1 cup brown rice (or use leftovers that you’ve made ahead of time)


  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. In large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook sausage, stirring well to break up any large bits.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add chili, cumin and oregano, stirring well to combine.
  4. Add onions, garlic and chipotle peppers, and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and black beans and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Serve over brown rice with a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkle of green onions.