Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simple Soaked-Bean Chili ~ A Recipe

This is a recipe my mom made up after enjoying some chili at a restaurant that she wanted to emulate.  We've been happily eating it up for decades now.  I only tweaked it a little to enhance it's nutrition content, but it still tastes as delicious as my mama's, if I do say so myself.  Pair it with some homemade cornbread slathered with raw butter an honey and you've got yourself the most comforting meal ever on a chilly evening in.

*A note on cooking dry red or kidney beans.*  Red beans carry a toxin that cooks out, so only eat red beans that are not undercooked.

Simple Soaked-bean Chili
1 1/2 cups dried beans (I use a mixture of black, navy, pinto, & sometimes kidney)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice or whey
1 pound ground meat (turkey, beef, bison, venison... your choice)
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 onion, minced
3 cups water
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
3 cloves garlic, seeded and minced

Optional Garnishes
Grated cheese (cheddar or jack are our favorites)
Creme Fraiche or sour cream
Fresh cilantro
Crumbled tortilla chips
  1. 12-24 hours before making the chili, place the beans in a large bowl.  Cover with water about 2-3 inches above the beans and add lemon juice or whey.  Stir, cover with a towel, and let soak for 12-24 hours.  Drain and rinse.
  2. Brown ground meat with onions and pepper in a Dutch oven.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 4-6 hours.  You can also cook this in a crock pot for 6-8 hours on the low setting.


  1. I love chili in all forms...and must share with you a secret that I learned from my husbands relatives in Colonial Juarez...well not too secret....it's probably out on the web, that adding an tablespoon or two of chocolate takes the chili to a new level. It deepens the flavors and adds a dense delectable factor!! I would be interested in finding out what you think of it! Love your blog and your realization that love and lots of knowledge grows in small places!!

  2. Yes! I LOVE chocolate in chili; it's my favorite! I just wanted to provide a simple, base recipe people could "spice" up any way they'd like. :)

  3. Do you know how many this serves?

  4. It served 8-10. :)

  5. One cup is 8 oz, but if I did 4- 15 oz cans of tomato sauce it would double the amount. Which is it, 32 oz or 60 oz of tomatoes?

  6. A great, simple recipe. Plus, this was my first time soaking beans--super simple, no need to fret people..."forethought"! Several servings have now found a happy home in my freezer to be enjoyed later. Thanks!

  7. Katie, these look delicious! Don't know if you remember me, I was your Sunday School teacher for a couple of years (4-6th grade). I'm so excited to see gluten free recipes! Serenity (my daughter) and I are on a "real food" gluten-free journey and I can't wait to try your chili for this weekend. So glad to see you are all doing so well!

  8. I'd love to try this but I'm wondering what the measurement is for the dried beans....cups? Thanks! -Carrie

  9. Help, I want to make this but after reading the comments I'm not clear. Is there additional tomatoes in this or just the paste. It looks like there is diced in the photo but it's not listed on the ingredients.

  10. This looks like a great recipe...and I am actually cooking it right now. I do have a question about how much water to add. The recipe calls for 3-cups of water twice. Are you supposed to add a total of 6 cups? Or is the first 3 cups for soaking the beans?

  11. I tried this chili and it was so helpful for me since I'm soaking beans and grains now as much as possible. I also found a great site that suggested boiling/simmering the beans in salted water after soaking. This keeps the skins on and does not make the skin tough, in spite of the wives tales circulating all over the internet. I personally did not like this chili because it primarily tasted like tomato paste. I simply wanted to share that for those who are trying it for the first time. You should at least try doubling, if not quadrupling the seasonings. Perhaps double the chili powder and quadruple the rest. I actually added about a tablespoon of garlic powder and some Frank's Red Hot sauce to my 10 ounce serving of chili. I realize that's a lot of garlic powder, but it really needed it.


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