This delicious, hearty kidney bean chili is a great keep-warm food for the winter, and it’s great to start with basic ingredients and watch it come together. I am using ground beef in this, but you can simply leave it out for a fine vegetarian chili. This recipe is adapted from Linda Watson’s recipe at Cook for Good.
You will need:
- 1 pound dried kidney beans
- 2 onions
- 2 green peppers
- 6–8 cloves garlic
- 1 pound ground beef (optional)
- 1 tsp chipotle or cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp and 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, with juice
You can use canned kidney beans if you like, which lets you skip the soaking and cooking parts. I’m a big proponent of using dried beans, though, so I started from there. Dried beans are a lot cheaper and usually taste better when prepared.
See my previous post on soaking dried beans for more detailed instructions. Basically, place the dried beans in a large bowl with a generous amount of water. Use enough water so that there is a couple of inches between the beans and the top of the water (the beans will expand as they soak). When using kidney beans, let them soak for at least 8 hours. This is not a suggestion — kidney beans can be toxic if not properly soaked.
Once they’ve soaked, your beans should be lovely, plump, and fresh-looking. Drain the water using a colander and rinse them thoroughly with cold water.
To cook the beans, place them in a pot of water on the stove (don’t use the same water they were soaked in). Add a little salt and bring the pot to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat and let it simmer until the beans are softened and have a creamy texture. This may take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.
Shortly before the beans are cooked, chop up all of your veggies except the garlic. I decided to add some mushrooms to my recipe. As a kid, I was really fond of the canned mushrooms that my mother includes in her chili. As an adult, I went with the real deal.
Toss the veggies into a pan over medium heat with enough corn or canola oil to keep them from sticking or burning.
If you’re adding ground beef to your chili, toss that into a separate pan over medium heat and mash it up a bit so it separates and cooks evenly. I used about a pound.
Your veggies should be coming along. Once the onions begin to become soft and translucent, mince or press your garlic and add it to the veggie pan.
Give the garlic a minute or two to mingle and then add the spices and mix. If you are using separate meat and veggie pans, divide the spices between both.
When the kidney beans finish cooking, drain them and add the two cans of tomatoes to their pot. Begin heating this new mixture, and add your veggies and, if you used it, ground beef. Everything should be in one pot now.
Give the chili about 30 minutes to simmer on a low to medium heat. This will ensure everything is an even temperature and that the flavours have blended well. Serve it up. Goes well with crackers, bread, or cornbread if you have it.