Winter Goodness: Kidney Qi Boosting Black Bean Chili

Kidney Qi Boosting Black Bean Chili
2 cups black beans, sorted and soaked
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 onions, finely diced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 teaspoons sweet paprika
2-3 tablespoons ground red chile
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato, juice reserved
1-2 teaspoons pureed chipotle chile
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
A dash of red wine or sherry vinegar
Optional garnish: sour cream

Drain the beans.  Put them in a soup pot, add fresh water to cover by 4 inches, and boil for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove any surface scum, lower the heat and simmer partially covered.  While the beans are cooking, toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat.  When they turn fragrant, add the oregano, shaking the pan so that the herbs don't burn, and toast for about 5 seconds.  Turn the mixture onto a plate to cool, then grind it to a powder.

Saute the onions in the oil in a skillet over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, 1.5 teaspoons salt, the cumin mixture, paprika, and ground red chile.  Lower the heat and cook until the onions are soft, another 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and juice, 1 teaspoon chipotle puree, and the cilantro.  Simmer for 15 minutes, then add this mixture to the beans.

Continue cooking until the beans are completely soft, about 30 minutes altogether, making sure the water level stays at least an inch or two above the beans.  Taste and season with more chipotle and salt, if needed, and add a dash of vinegar.  Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with sour cream, if desired.