Hearty black beans and chunks of ripe plantains are simmered up in a spicy tomato base to make this knock-your-socks-off sweet and spicy plantain chili!
Every time I cook with plantains, which is not nearly enough, I tell myself I need to cook with them all the time.
Why Plantains are Awesome
Here’s the thing: plantains are cheap, delicious as heck, and as far as exotic produce goes, pretty darn readily available. I remember seeing plantains in the vegetable bins way back when I was a kid, and back then there was way less of a demand for super cool fruits. I always thought they were weird bananas, and they kind of are, but a thousand times better.
I’m a sucker for sweet and spicy flavor combinations, and it’s just about (or exactly) the beginning of fall, a.k.a., chili season as someone once told me, and so, this plantain chili was born.
My last plantain recipe on this site (okay, my only other plantain recipe) was for some burgers. That one also involved some smoky, spicy black beans, but it’s very different from what’s going on here.
How to Make Plantain Chili
The great thing about the use of plantains in chili is that you can make your chili as you normally would, then literally just chop some plantains up and throw them in. They only need a short simmer time to soften up, and during that time some of their sweetness will fuse into the rest of the chili
Couldn’t be easier. I had this urge to do fancy things with my plantains. Fry them up maybe? I don’t know, but in any event, I resisted, and I’m happy to report that plantains, thrown into a stew, are as delicious as you’ve ever had them. And if you’ve never had them before, there’s no better place to start than with the recipe right in front of you.
Black Bean Plantain Chili
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (14 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 2 ripe plantains, yellow with plenty of brown spots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- salt and pepper to taste
Toppings (choose your favorites)
- fresh cilantro
- chopped scallions
- avocado slices
Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and bell pepper. Sauté until softened and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.
Add beans, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika and ancho chili powder to the pot and give it a stir to incorporate everything. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add plantains and simmer 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until plantains are softened but not yet mushy.
Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide into bowls and top with toppings of choice. Serve.