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Sweet Corn & Black Bean Chili

sweet corn & black bean chili in a turquoise bowl with cheese on top

Is there anything better on a brisk fall day than a big bowl of chili?  If you turned up your nose at that remark then you haven't had a GOOD chili.  I made this chili for Dee's work party this week and hubby came home and ate so much of it that I had to make another batch!

This recipe was created specifically with my hubby in mind because he does not like big chunks of tomato in anything at all, but just throwing them through the blender first gives you all the amazing flavor while making this chili hubby, (and kid), friendly too.  The secret to this chili though is that it has cinnamon and sugar in it, which makes it warm and sweet and just plain delicious!

True to my form, this recipe is super simple and requires very little effort on your part.  You can switch out different kinds of beans - northern, red kidney, pinto, or whatever you have on hand - and you can absolutely taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking!  For example, if you like it spicier, go ahead and add more red pepper flakes or chili powder.  I've honestly even used jars of pasta sauce if I am out of canned tomatoes or regular tomato sauce!

One of the ingredients listed below is Trader Joes Mushroom & Company umami seasoning blend.  I have made this recipe for years without that seasoning blend and it is fantastic, but the umami seasoning, (which has a mushroom powder base), just adds another level of deep earthiness that just elevates it to a whole other level!  So if you can get it, try it, but if you can't get it, don't let that deter you from making this.  (Update, this has become a more common seasoning since I wrote this post and there are other brands of umami seasoning out there if you don't have a Trader Joe's near you!)

As a side note, this chili is excellent over baked potatoes, French fries, or just served in a bowl with sour cream, chopped onions and cheese as optional garnishes.

  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes, (can use 1/2 if you are nervous about heat)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Trader Joe's Umami seasoning  - (optional)
  • 1/4 cup concentrated tomato paste, (from the tube)
  • 1 (28-32 oz) can San Marzano style tomatoes
  • 1 (28oz) can tomato sauce (or can substitute two of the 15oz cans no problem)
  • 12oz bag of frozen corn
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 2 tsp beef bullion
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  1. In a large pot, brown the ground beef with the salt, pepper, onion powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, chili powder, smoked paprika and umami powder, (umami is optional.)  
  2. Stir in the concentrated tomato paste and let it cook for a couple of minutes.  
  3. Blend your canned tomatoes and tomato sauce in the blender and add to the meat.  
  4. Stir in the frozen corn and black beans and bring to a simmer.  
  5. Stir in the beef bullion, sugar and cinnamon.  
  6. Bring the entire pot to a slow boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly because it will splatter as it boils.
  7. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to stop it from burning on the bottom.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  (I throw mine in the crock pot after bringing it to boil and just keep it on low until we are to eat it.)  *Note, if your chili becomes too thick at any point, just add a little beef broth or water to it.  Start with a 1/4 cup and go from there.
  8. Serve with sour cream, chopped onion and cheese as optional garnishes.  We also like to serve hot garlic bread or these breadsticks with it!

sweet corn & black bean chili in a turquoise bowl with cheese on top

*Photos updated Sept 23, 2019


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