Mitch's Black Bean & Sausage Chili
Mitch's Tavern in Raleigh already is well- known for its great vegetarian chili, and Mitch's recently added this black bean and sausage version to his menu. Students, faculty and anyone who's just plain hungry are eager to linger over a bowl inside Mitch's dark wood interior - the perfect Fall chili spot.

Easy - Serves 6-8
1 pound dry black beans
2 pounds roma tomatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pounds fresh mild or sweet Italian Sausage
1 small yellow onion, diced
7 garlic cloves, minced
1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Sift through black beans to find any stones. Rinse beans, drain and pour into to a large pot. Cover beans with 1 quart water, place over high heat and bring to a simmer, Immediately remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans into a colander and rinse. Pour beans back into the large pot with 1 quart of water and place over medium-high heat. Cook beans until soft, about 1 hour. Give the beans a gentle, occasionally stir. If beans get dry, add 1/2 cup water as needed. The idea is to end up with as little water as possible. Drain beans. To peel tomatoes, core and make an "X" on the opposite end. Place into boiling water and boil approximately 1-2 rninutes. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process. Tomato skins should slip off easily. Seed and roughly chop. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook on all sides, 8-10 minutes. Remove sausage from pan; cool and slice 1/2" thick. IIn a large Dutch oven, heat remaining 2 table- spoons of oil over medium-high heat. Saute oniion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add both the fresh and canned tomatoes; cook 3 minutes. Stir in peppers, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and beef broth. Simmer 10 minutes. Add sausage and cilantro; simmer another 10 minutes, then stir in beans and reduce heat to low, simmering for 30 minutes more. Stir in basil. Makes 3 1/2 quarts Serve with grated cheddar cheese, fresh salsa, sour cream, or all three!