Thursday, October 16, 2008

Recipe: The Easiest 3-Bean Chili Ever


This past weekend autumn officially announced its presence with blustery winds and super-cold nights. I had to pull out my heavy comforter and start sleeping in sweatshirts again, and StuKitty took full advantage of the new warm spots on the bed. I figured this was the perfect time for me to make something hearty that would warm me up from the inside, and since this is a bare bones week for me, what could be more convenient to make than a nice hearty chili?

I love making all sorts of chili varieties, experimenting with this & that. Not only can it be extremely tasty, if done right (meaning w/o too much oil or grease), it can also be a very healthy one-dish meal since it’s packed with fiber and protein. And it’s so versatile! You can serve it with yummy cornbread, with a nice salad, and top it with just about anything – or just serve it by itself in a giant bowl or mug. The best part is that you can make a really great chili without breaking the bank – so long as you have some good spices and some patience for letting it simmer long enough before digging in (like I do… once the aromas start filling my kitchen, I just can’t resist!).

I call this particular version “The Easiest” because there’s really not much work involved at all. Even the most inexperienced cook can make this and it would turn out okay. I used black, red kidney, and garbanzo beans primarily because that’s what I had in my cupboard, but also because I’d been meaning to combine these in something other than a salad. I’d never tried garbanzo beans in a chili before either, so I was eager to see how their texture would add to the standard beans usually used in chili. Feel free to mix it up with different beans, and if you want to toss in a 4th or 5th variety, have at it. It can only get better. Lastly, remember spices are key; I tend to make mine explode with flavor because I like that sort of thing, so if it’s a bit much for you, go ahead and tone it down by adding some water or a light broth. You’ll get a soupier chili but it’ll still be good.

The Easiest 3-Bean Chili Ever
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can of black beans
1 can of garbanzo beans
1 can of diced tomatoes (salted or unsalted are fine)
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 T crushed garlic
3 T cooking oil
1 t garlic salt
1 t cumin
2 t chili powder
1 t ground black pepper
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of oregano
Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, etc. for garnish (if you have it)

Combine garlic salt, sea salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and oregano in a bowl. Mix together and set aside. Drain each can of bean in a colander, but keep the tomatoes in their juice.

In a large pot heat the oil & garlic over medium high heat until garlic starts to brown slightly (don’t burn it!). Add about half of your spice mixture and stir together so that the garlic starts picking up some of the flavors. Add the beans, then the tomatoes in their juice and the rest of the seasonings; stir well. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes then reduce to medium low heat. Cover and let simmer slowly for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test for flavor and consistency; if it’s too thick and spicy, add ¼ cup of water and stir. Add the chopped fresh tomato at the very end (gives it a little zip and extra texture) and remove from heat.

Ladle into bowls or big soup mugs. Garnish with shredded cheese, chopped green onions or scallions, sour cream, etc. Serve with breadsticks or cornbread, or on its own. Enjoy!

4 comments:

  1. Great recipe!

    I've also recently discovered Hominy (in a can). It's in the same aisle as the other canned vegetables - I believe its popular in southern dishes.

    Anyway, they are really cheap in my grocery store (usually .50 a can) and really bulk up soups, stir-frys. They don't really taste like anything, but meld to whatever you put them in - kind of like tofu!

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  2. I'm having chili tonight. It's not supposed to get out of the 40's today and it's cold and rainy. I might have to have a grilled cheese sandwich too.

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  3. I ran across your blog this week at work and was determined to make the chili soon. I did tonite and it was fantastic. I added some onion and peppers. I also tossed a cup or so of it into my blendtec, then back into the pot just to make it a little thicker.
    I'll definitely be making this again.
    Thanks for posting!!

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  4. This looked amazing! I tried to make it though and it turned out really salty. Maybe next time I wont add an entire tablespoon of sea salt and a tablespoon of garlic salt?

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