1 pound ground beef (see note at end)
1 cup beef bouillion
1 medium onion, diced small
1 green bell pepper, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1 cup black beans, rinsed and soaked
8 to 10 oz. chunky salsa (I used a lime-flavored variety)
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. chile powder (ground chili, garlic powder, cumin, and other stuff--see note)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
In a large heavy pot (a Dutch oven or other cast-iron stewpot is favorite; if not, use your heaviest pot), brown the beef. Drain off the fat, and remove the meat to a bowl. Add the olive oil to the empty pan, and sweat the onions and garlic until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the beef, and cook over medium heat for roughly 10 minutes. Add beef, turn heat to low, and cover. (For a thicker broth, leave uncovered for 20 to 35 minutes.) Cook over low heat for at least two hours. Garnish in your favorite way and serve.
Note: This recipe can be made with any kind of stew meat--the tougher the better--and in fact, it'll turn out much better if you do so. If you take this route, season the meat with salt and black pepper, and then lightly coat each piece with flour. Brown it, and work in small batches if necessary--don't crowd the pot at this stage. After all the meat's been browned, deglaze the pot with no more than 1/2 cup of the bouillion, and add this to the bowl that the meat's in. This variation, to be sure, will tack at least another hour onto your cooking time, in order to make sure the meat's tender enough, but oh will it be worth it.
The amount of chile powder can be varied to suit your taste, of course. If you prefer, you can forgo the powder totally and replace it with fresh or roasted diced chili peppers, which would add a more "authentic" flavor. I'm...not much of a stud for spicy foods, so I use the powder.
This is a very forgiving recipe--it's well-suited for substitutions and variations, using almost anything your heart can desire. The important thing to remember, overall, is to cook it for a long time over the lowest heat your rangetop can provide. And, as with any stew, it's excellent as leftovers.