Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Not this kind of bean.

Ah, the humble bean. Easy to grow, cheap to purchase, efficient at causing flatulence. Aside from the latter, beans are one of the best things to cook. They have lots of fiber and protein, and are versatile as all heck.

Sure, you COULD buy canned, pre-cooked beans. Dried beans, however, are at least half the cost and require minimal effort to prepare. That's not to say canned beans aren't useful, though...sometimes you need insta-beans, for impromptu nachos or tacos. 

Still, if you were to throw a couple handfuls of dried beans into a bowl, cover them with water and leave them to sit overnight, by the time you drag yourself out of bed in the morning you'll have a bowlful of beans that are mere minutes away from being ready to eat. 

Next step: boil those beans! Most bean varieties have a toxin in them that will give you serious indigestion if they aren't cooked out. Drain your soaked beans, throw them in a pot with enough fresh water to cover them, and boil for at least ten minutes (soaking, rinsing and boiling the beans will help to reduce their gas-producing effects somewhat, too).

So now you've prepped some beans. Here's my vegetarian chili recipe...it has as many veggies crammed into it as possible. Meaty chili is a project for another day, this is cheap and tasty and edible for everyone!

(Makes a very large pot of chili)

3 cups dried beans (I usually do a mix of pinto beans, chickpeas, and black beans)
6 cups water

2 tsp salt
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 green pepper, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced (keep the seeds in if you want it spicier)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet potato/yam, peeled and diced (can substitute diced pumpkin or other squash)
1 small zucchini, diced
1 can of baby corn cobs (or 2 cups frozen corn kernels)

3 tbsp ground cumin
3 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp cocoa powder 
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 large cans of tomatoes, chopped
A bottle of your favourite beer (dark beers like stout or porter are perfect for this)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup ketchup
Juice of 1 lime (or 2 tbsp vinegar)
Canned chipotle peppers, finely diced (if you can't find these, just add more spices, or use chipotle chili powder if you can find it)
Your favourite hot sauce, to taste

Alright. First off, the day before you plan on making chili, throw the beans into a big bowl or container and cover with the water.

The next day, drain and rinse the beans and pour them into a pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes until they've softened up slightly. Drain and set aside.

In a large stock pot, add a little bit of cooking oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add all the vegetables except the sweet potato, zucchini and corn. Saute until the vegetables begin to soften up.

Add in the beans and the spices, and cook, stirring often, for another minute or two. Then add the wet stuff and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Simmer for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally and tasting often (add more spices if desired, and keep tasting the chili until you're satisfied with the flavour). Once the beans are cooked to your liking, add in the remaining vegetables and simmer until they're fully cooked.

Top with sour cream and shredded cheese if desired, and enjoy!

Keep an eye out for more bean recipes...trust me, there will be many more!


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