If you keep canned beans, tomatoes, onion and garlic in your pantry, you can make this dish on any weeknight without having to shop. The pickled onions aren’t strictly necessary, but they are simple to make and add a welcome tangy contrast to the beans. Pickled peppers are a fine substitute. If you have a bell pepper or jalapeño or two, chop them up and sauté them with the onions. And if you want to be fancy, grate the zest off the lime before juicing for the pickles, and stir it into the sour cream.
For the pickled onions:
- 1red onion or shallot, thinly sliced
- Salt, as needed
- Sugar, as needed
For the chili:
- Olive or grapeseed oil
- 1large onion, chopped
- Garlic cloves, to taste, minced
- Chile powder
- Dried oregano
- 2(15-ounce) cans beans, drained
- 1(15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- Salt, to taste
- Fresh cilantro, diced avocado and sour cream, for garnish (optional)
- Make the pickled onions: Squeeze the lime juice into a bowl and add the onion or shallot, a large pinch of salt and a small pinch of sugar. Let rest for 20 minutes while you make the chili.
- Heat a large skillet, then add the oil. When hot, add the onion and sauté until softened. Add the garlic, chile powder and oregano and sauté until fragrant. Add the beans and tomatoes and a few large pinches of salt and let simmer until the tomatoes break down, about 20 minutes.
- Taste and add more salt, chile and/or oregano to taste. Serve with the pickled onion and any of the garnishes you like.