Black & White Chili

I hope everyone had a great weekend, for me, this weekend was just as wonderful as I wanted it to be! I did indeed buy a new pair of running shoes (Brooks! With inserts because, as I’ve learned, my feet aren’t so stellar and need the help), I got a lot of work done on my thesis (oh geez, 2 months away till turning it in), went for a hike, and ate some stellar food. All in all, fantastic and just what I needed after what’s felt like two months of just barely making it. I’m hoping this was the start of some great months to come–anyone with me?

On Sunday, G. & I hiked to the Cascades, a pretty waterfall in Giles County just outside of Blacksburg. While definitely not the most strenuous hike I’ve ever tromped, it was the perfect length and work out for two very very very out of shape people. Between the two of us, we’ve been sick for over half of the last two months, and between that and traveling and me working multiple jobs and G. having multiple projects at his job, well, let’s just say we’re ashamed of our fitness levels. But that’s going to change. At least for me, I can’t talk for G. (smile)

For a trail, I’d recommend it for pretty much any fitness level–it’s well graded and all of the uphills are either smooth and easy to walk or have built in rock steps. There are plenty of places to rest and chill out as well, and at the end, the falls have a nice observation pathway/deck/overlook/what have you. We kept up a good clip, enjoyed the falls, and headed right back out in under 1.5 hours. With 55-60 degree cloudy weather, I couldn’t have asked for anything nicer for February (besides the sun, but I’ll take warm temps when I can get ‘em). We’re in the weather warp right now–70 degrees yesterday, snowing today.

But as for food, since this is a food blog and all, I give you a recipe for something we didn’t eat this weekend–in fact, we ate it weeks ago–but it sure would have been delicious post-hike! (After the hike we had a 1/2 off import beer at The Cellar and then dinner at Cafe de Bangkok–didn’t have my camera with me, so no pictures/review besides the fact that it was tasty!) I’ve actually made this meal twice in the past two months and I don’t really think you can beat it for a quick & easy weeknight winter dinner. Taking the idea of chili, which I really love when there’s a whole day to develop complex flavors, I pared it down to the minimum–beans, spice, alcohol, tomatoes. Served on top of (gasp) microwave baked sweet potatoes with a little vegan sour cream on top, it just hits the spot for filling and delicious.

Black & White Chili

Olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp + more to taste chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp aleppo pepper
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz bottle hard apple cider of choice
1/2 pint (8 oz) pureed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
Baked sweet or regular potatoes, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, etc. for serving

In a pot, saute the onion in olive oil over medium high heat for 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, saute 1 minute until fragrant. Add the spices, stir to combine.

Immediately add the beans, hard apple cider, and pureed tomatoes. Stir. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer 15-20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced in half. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4

14 Responses to “Black & White Chili”
  1. Chuck says:

    I love sweet and savory sweet potatoes. As much as I love butter and cinnamon on them, I like them just as much with sharp cheddar- You’re recipe looks delicious!

  2. brandi says:

    Love the Cascades :) It’s not far from our house!

  3. Renae says:

    Beautiful pictures – both from the hike and the chili, which looks delicious. I’m glad you had a wonderful weekend!

  4. And here I never even dreamed of serving chili over a baked potato… What a smart and tasty idea! I’m always looking for an excuse to eat baked potatoes for dinner, and this would certainly make for a more balanced meal than a topping of just gravy. ;)

  5. Love the photos! The chili sounds quite tasty, as well (although I’m a bit dubious about it ending up in a sweet potato, but not as dubious as what I saw here the other day: somebody putting French Fries inside their baked potato).

  6. Jessica says:

    Hard cider in chili is genius!

    I love chili on baked potatoes, but I think the baked sweet potato sounds good too.

    Beautiful photos from your hike.

  7. chow vegan says:

    I’ve been wearing Brooks with inserts for years, it’s the brand that works best for my feet. Really cool looking place to hike! And great idea to top sweet potatoes with chili! I’ve always used white potatoes, I never even thought to try it with the much healthier sweet potatoes. Thanks! :-)

  8. That chilli looks delish! I love the name too.

  9. eileen says:

    Chili plus sweet potato! An excellent plan. I haven’t tried the hard cider thing, and now I’m curious–may have to experiment in this direction soon.

  10. Amanda says:

    Yum! Looks great. I’m so with you on looking forward to some better months. This past winter has been so tough..ready to welcome spring with open arms!

  11. Monica says:

    Sounds like a great weekend – such wonderful pictures! So, your recipe is simply uncanny. I just wrote a post on eating for long distance running on my friend’s sports blog, and one of my food suggestions was a sweet potato topped with chili or ratatouille. But for the life of me I couldn’t find a picture or recipe as an example. I should have looked here first… going to go link to you in the comments now. Superb!

  12. Beth says:

    I love this post, Jes, because it has two of my very favorite things in it—good food and good hiking! :-) That’s a lovely waterfall—I’ll have to put that hike on our Big List of Hikes to Take Someday. And that chili looks wonderful–I like the hard cider touch.

    Best of luck with your thesis!

  13. Oh yes! Black beans and sweet potatoes are such an awesome combo!

    Beautiful pictures! I can almost hear the sound of the soothing water :)

    Here’s to the start of some great months to come!

  14. Rachel says:

    I made this today and it is delicious! I didn’t have Aleppo so I added a little cayenne but do you have any other recommendations? I haven’t seen it at my co-op

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