Sunday, November 14, 2021

Easy, Pantry Bean Chili

Yup, here in Humboldt county those foggy mornings that don't always burn off lead me to dream of good, stick to the ribs chili. Basic, pantry ingredients with a few spices that might surprise you will produce a complex and hearty chili that will have you making a second batch.

I make a fair amount of Mexican dishes, so I always have Mexican oregano and annatto seeds in my pantry, but you can leave out the annatto and use regular oregano and it will still be delicious! If you make your beans from scratch, you will have lots of cooking liquid that helps make this all come together quickly.

Easy Bean Chili

Serves 3-4

1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (if canned, keep the liquid; if baked from dried, conserve the cooking liquid)

15 oz can chopped tomatoes

1 rib celery, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup diced onion

1 jalapeno, deseeded and deveined, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 teaspoons brown sugar or molasses (optional, depends on how sweet you like your chili)

1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (or any oregano) 

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

Pinch of clove powder

Pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground annatto seeds (optional) (I use my mortar and pestle to smash whole ones)

1-2 tablespoon chili powder - I prefer Ancho, but it’s up to you

Pinch of cayenne powder to taste


Heat a large heavy bottom pan over medium heat for 2-4 minutes. Add oil and swirl around the pan.Add onion, garlic and jalapeno and pinch of salt and cook 3-4 minutes until onion begins to soften. Add all the spices except the chili powder and cayenne and stir well, cooking another 2-3 minutes. Add celery and carrot and pinch of salt; stir and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and beans with enough liquid so that it all looks like it's floating but not like it’s soup-like. Bring to a boil, add chili powder and cayenne and reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste for salt and serve with desired garnishes of avocado, cheese, cilantro or chips.


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