Black bean chili with orange and cumin (4-5 servings)

I spent most of today raking leaves with teenagers for a service project. I split my time equally between raking, delegating jobs, and scolding students for poking at reptiles with their rakes or for wailing fallen tree nuts at one another. Overall, it was a productive day, but as I was brushing debris from my jeans and shielding my face from the wind, I kept thinking, "Chili tonight. Chili tonight. Chili tonight..."

The recipe comes from, and the changes I made are reflected below.

You will need:

  • 1 orange

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 c chopped onions (I used frozen because I was not in the mood for chopping)

  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed

  • 3 cans (15.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed (you could also substitute a can or two for kidney beans)

  • 2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes in juice, undrained (I used one can of regular and one of fire-roasted tomatoes)

  • 4 tsp chili powder (I think I used more like 3)

  • 3 tsp ground cumin

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Grate enough orange zest to equal 1 1/2 tsp and set aside. Juice the orange and set juice aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan or stockpot over medium-high. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 min.

  3. Mix in garlic, tomatoes, beans, and the orange juice. Stir in the spices. Simmer over medium heat, stirring often, for about 15 min.

  4. Stir in the orange zest and the cocoa powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding hot sauce if you wish.

The recipe said to serve it with sour cream, but I feel like that would have ruined it. I took some advice from the readers' comments on epicurious and used one orange instead of the original two and added the cocoa powder for some depth at the end. Next time, I wouldn't use so much cumin, but that's just a personal preference. This chili is a lovely mix between sweet and spicy, and it's both low-fat and filling. I served it with the jalapeno-cheddar scones I had stored in the freezer a few weeks ago.