Black bean chili & burn out

Nine months. The same amount of time it takes to fully grow and birth a baby. Like with all new mothers, the weight of the exhaustion from this life cycle sits in between all of our collective shoulder blades as our arms attempt to hold onto the weight of precious life.

This new way of being has crept into every crevice – even my dream life. My so-called nightmares, one recently in which I was panicking, lost in a tube station in central London, felt more like a quirky daydream upon waking and realising we were all mask-free in la la land. The panic felt laughable, silly, now that we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

During lockdown number one so many of us were keen to “have something to show” for this time forcibly spent at home – for those who were lucky enough to be able to close our doors and keep our bodies safely behind them. We had trouble sitting still so made sourdough (mine is now rotting in the back of our fridge), we baked, we biked, we gardened, we painted, we puzzled. Many of us, so hard wired to search for relief in the doing, did a lot. But after nine months of living in and through a pandemic, civil unrests and upheaval, a US presidential election (which somehow still drags on!), recession, anxiety, depression, unemployment, sickness, loss and physical separation, I am finding myself exhausted. The only weight I can physically remove is that of my own expectations. I am in dire need of ‘doing’ less. At least temporarily. To get up in the morning, bathe, clothe, feed myself and my family, walk the dog (a happier byproduct of the pandemic) stand with my face in the fresh air, and be. For just a moment. I am trying with all my might to convince my brain and my heart that this is enough for now. This IS productive. This IS meaningful, helpful and worth doing. For now. So my arms will feel strong enough to forge on – and not drop the metaphorical baby on its metaphorical head.

With this in mind I’m keen to share this very simple recipe with you. It’s not life-changing, but it has proven to be something I can make on the fly, when it all has been too much for too long and yet I still need to put dinner on table in an hour. It’s cheap, healthy, easy, and the kids eat it without complaint – especially when topped with cheese, avocado and sour cream and scooped up with flour or corn tortillas. That’s all I’m really looking for in the kitchen right now. For now.

Posted here with love from me to you.

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Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

Course Main Course
Author adriennekatzkennedy


  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots or small red onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. tomato puree
  • 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tins black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 tsp. chipotle chiles in adobo (or whatever heat you prefer)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes or peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. Mexican or Italian oregano
  • 2 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • sea salt – to taste


  • First peel, dice and prep all ingredients.
  • In a large pot (with lid) heat oil to a medium-high heat, then add your shallot or onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes until softened, fragrant and translucent, then add diced garlic, stir through and cook for 1 minute further.
  • Now, add your spices, cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then add in tomato paste and stir until well combined.
  • Add to the pot your sweet potatoes, stir to combine, then tip in rinsed and drained black beans and stir once more. Add in your chile and stir through. It should start to smell like chili now!
  • Tip in your tinned tomatoes, 1/2 tin full of water, oregano, brown sugar, a pinch or two of salt and lime juice. Stir, then reduce heat to medium and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes until sweet potatoes have softened.
  • Taste, adjust seasoning by adding salt and whatever additional spices you fancy (if any) and cook for another 20 minutes or so (longer if you have the time) until your desired thickness is reached.
  • Serve as is alongside corn or flour tortillas or top with hot sauce, cheese, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips (definitely still include those tortillas though!)


This is a recipe you can cook quickly or slowly (for deeper flavours) based on the amount of time you have. If you’re going for a slower cook, make sure to top up with a bit of water if necessary so not to burn the bottom of your pot.

About The Author


Eat. Drink. Wander. Think. Write.


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