Friday, July 3, 2009

Beans, Beans! All Day Summer Chili

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Happy National Eat Beans Day Everyone! This holiday gave me a great opportunity to share my homemade Summer chili with you. It is a whole day event but, the results will last for a long time. You can change this up any which way and choose different cooking methods and the amount you want to make. First of all, the beans, is what I think makes the chili. I have eaten beanless chili but, I can't seem to give up those beans! They are full of nutrients and might seem a little bland in flavor alone. But, when mixed around, they are so much better and they are more versatile than you might think. You can use pretty much use any kind of bean you want in your chili (with a few exceptions). I like to keep these dried beans in my pantry for food storage but, I still don't feel like I have enough variety. I keep Red beans, white or Mayocoba beans, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and Garbonzo beans (I also like to keep dried split peas are Lentils). You can find all of these canned and/or some frozen as well. Plus, it is nice to keep peas, green beans and other beans that are canned or frozen handy.
Here are some common Beans and other Legumes:
Black Beans
Black-eyed peas
Broad Beans (Fava Beans)
Cannellini Beans
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Great Northern Beans
Green Beans
Kidney Beans
Lima Beans
Mung Beans
Navy Beans
Pinto Beans
Soy Beans
Split Peas
White Beans

I use beans the most in soups and stews. This summer chili is something I like to make in large quantities for the whole summer (I just freeze the rest). I use them in chili dogs, Navajo Tacos, taco salad and more. You can make as much as you want really. It is simple and easy to change!

Once you have picked what beans you would like to use. Do not forget to wash and short your beans. You usually find a very small rock or two.
Today, I am using Kidney and Red Beans for my chili.

For the Fast soak method, boil with directed amount of water for 2 minutes and then cover and let set for 1-2 hours.
For overnight soak, place in a covered pot with directed amount of water and set out overnight.

After your beans are soaked, rinse them again to take away the dirty water and the small pieces. Look how the beans all look the same color now.
*Not Shown- Cook your beans. I will throw mine in the pressure cooker for 3-4 minutes (time depends on the type of bean) if they are already soaked (click here for step by step pressure cooking instructions) or cook in a pot (covered) for 1-2 hours depending on how soft you want them.

Meat is something that you can add or not. Some people will make a vegetarian chili but, I have to add some kind of meat. I like to add 1-2 pounds of browned lean ground beef, 4-8 slices of crumbled peppered bacon, and sometimes I have added cooked sausage with or without the bacon.

There are a variety of different seasonings I put into my chili and you can do the same. I use Beef Bullion, Chili Powder (a must), Paprika, Cumin, Brown Sugar, Salt and Pepper and sometimes Curry. Depending on how much I make, I can use pretty generous amounts of these spices and seasonings. So, try a little here and there.

You can put whatever veggies you want in your chili or make it all meat and beans. For my chili, I like to cut up: 3-4 large tomatoes (sometimes I use canned Stewed tomatoes), 1/2-1 whole Walla Walla Sweet Onion, 1-2 green Bell pepper, 2-3 celery stalks with the leaves, and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Sometimes I add more depending on how it tastes.

It looks more colorful at this point. You can also add hot sauce, ketchup, or tomato sauce if you want. I put 2-3 cans of tomato sauce and a little Cholula. The thing about chili is that that longer it slow cooks, the more everything comes together to make that perfect creation. So, slow cook it as long as you can. You can even leave it on low in your slow cooker overnight if you like! I usually cook mine for 4-6 hours on the lowest setting, stir it now and then, add more seasoning if needed and see how it comes together that way.

There is a meal that involves chili that I crave all the time and that is: a big bowl of chili with shredded Cheddar cheese and sour cream on top, a large piece of homemade whole bread (or roll) with butter and a tall glass of milk. I know that might sound a little much, but it really is something worth trying.

How do you take your chili or what do you use beans for the most?
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1 comment:

Nichole said...

Your chili looks great...i will try it sometime.

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