If you have any wayward root-vegetable side dishes (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, parsnips, turnips), chop ‘em up and add to your favorite chili.
Serves: 4 to 6
1 ounce dried chile negro
1 packed cup cilantro, leaves and stems separated
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups leftover root vegetables, diced
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Sour cream, optional
Jack cheese, optional
1. Place chiles in a bowl and submerge in boiling hot water. Soak for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. Remove chiles from water, reserving liquids. Rinse off seeds and skin and discard with stems. Place cleaned chiles in a small food processor with roughly chopped cilantro stems, garlic, and 1/2 cup soaking liquids. Puree to a fine paste, adding more liquid as necessary.
2. Meanwhile heat oil in a large, lidded Dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Sauté onion and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour in tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add root vegetables, black beans, black chile paste, and remaining soaking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, adding one or two cups of water if necessary. (You want a soupy consistency, as chili will thicken as it simmers.)
3. Simmer partly covered for 20 minutes, until root vegetables are tender. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste and simmer for 5 more minutes.
4. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves, sour cream, and jack cheese, as desired.