Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine's Day 3 Bean Chili

Beans beans the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you regulate your blood sugar, stay fuller longer, fight free radicals, and meet your fiber needs.  What?  That's now how the rhyme goes.  We sing about beans because they make you fart.  Silly Lacey.

Actually, dear friends, if prepared properly, beans are not the gaseous beasts they're purported to be, and their benefits far outweigh the flatus they may bring on.  Besides, farting is funny, not to mention romantic, and who couldn't use a little more laughter in their life?

Making beans less gassy is simple:  soak and rinse them.  Starting with dried beans, cover them with water and soak for 6-8 hours.  Drain the soaking water and give them a rinse.  When you're ready to cook them, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until soft, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the bean.  Drain and rinse them again, and your beans are ready.  Just make sure that you don't add salt until they're soft, as adding salt to early will prevent them from cooking properly.  Eating beans more often can also reduce their gassy effect, so actually the more you eat the less you toot.
I strongly recommend using dried beans over canned for a few reasons.  They're way cheaper, they're not soaked in salt and loaded with sodium, and less packaging = less waste.

And let's be honest, there's no contest between the nutritional value of beans over meat.  They're high in fiber, high in phytochemicals, high in protein, they're slow burning, and they're naturally cholesterol and fat free.  Meat brings protein, but that's about it, and more and more studies are showing health problems that are linked to high intake of animal protein.  They don't go rancid, don't need to be refrigerated, and there's no death involved.  What's not to like?  And don't worry, this chili has plenty of flavor.

This is a quick and easy, basic chili.  Nothing fancy or complicated.  Feel free to make substitutions and additions.  Serves 6-8, total time approximately 1 hour.


1 cup dry red kidney beans - soaked
1 cup dry black beans - soaked
1/2 cup dry lentils (rinsed but not soaked)
1.5 cups yellow onion, medium dice
1.5 cups carrots, medium dice
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 T canola or sunflower oil

2 T Chili Powder
1 t Cumin
1 t Coriander
1 t turmeric (optional but recommended)
1 t Cayenne
2-3 T hot sauce (optional)
S&P to taste

1 28 oz can of tomatoes, whole italian or diced will do
1/2 can of tomato paste
3-4 cups water

  • Cover the rinsed and soaked black and kidney beans with water in a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until tender.
  • While the beans cook, chop the onions, carrots, and garlic.
  • In a large soup pot, sweat the onions, carrots, and garlic in the 1 T of oil with a big pinch of salt until they start to soften up and release their juices, about 7 minutes.
  • When the vegetables are soft, add the chili powder and other spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • By now, the beans should be soft.  Drain and rinse them, and add them to the soup pot along with the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils, and about 3 cups of water.
  • If using whole tomatoes, you'll need to break them up with your hands or a spoon.
  • Bring the chili to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding more water if necessary.
  • As always is the case with chili - it'll be even tastier the next day, so feel free to make it in advance and reheat it if you're having guests.
Garnish with Guacamole and Hazelnut Parmesan Cheese and enjoy!

Munji says to eat your beans, and he's serious.
Here's a link to a Harvard Medical School article on the link between red meat consumption and colon cancer:  Red Meat and Colon Cancer

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