Black bean chili should be primarily about the beans — they should be creamy, tender, and well-seasoned. We wanted a hearty bean chili that was as rich, savory, and deeply satisfying as any meat chili out there, yet simple to make in our multicooker.
Tasters preferred the creamy, tender texture of dried beans over canned, and soaking the dried beans in salted water helped them hold their shape and cook evenly. Creating big flavor in vegetarian chili can be tricky since you can’t use smoky ham hocks or bacon, but using the saute function to brown a hefty amount of aromatics and bloom spices worked well to give the chili depth.
We also added white mushrooms and bell peppers for body. A cup of broth and a can of crushed tomatoes provided enough liquid for our beans to cook evenly while still resulting in a thick, hearty final stew.
Served with a spritz of lime and a sprinkle of minced cilantro, this rich chili was so satisfying that no one missed the meat. Serve with your favorite chili garnishes. If using an Instant Pot, do not choose the slow cook function; the beans will not cook through properly.
BLACK BEAN CHILI
Pressure Cooker: 1 hour, 15 minutes (plus brining time)
Slow Cooker: 10 hours, 30 minutes (plus brining time)
Salt and pepper
1 pound (2 1/2 cups) dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
9 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
11/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth, plus extra as needed
1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Using highest saute or browning function, heat oil in multi-cooker until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin, chili powder, and chipotle and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and broth, scraping up any browned bits, then stir in beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, and bay leaves.
To pressure cook: Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 40 minutes. Turn off multicooker and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
To slow cook: Do not use Instant Pot to slow cook this recipe.) Lock lid in place and open pressure release valve. Select low slow cook function and cook until beans are tender, 9 to 10 hours. Turn off multicooker and carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
Discard bay leaves. Adjust consistency with extra hot broth as needed. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges.