So, last night, I made chili. It’s one of Himself’s favourites, and I thought I would share the recipe.

Mixed Bean Chili

1 lb. “exotic bean mix” – this is a mix of pinto, red kidney, black turtle, butter, haricot, and flagollet beans. If you can’t find a “bean mix” packet, just mix whatever beans you like
3 small onions, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 red chilies, seeded and chopped
3 peppers, seeded and chopped
1lb. beef round or chuck, chopped (you can also use ground)
4 14oz. tins of chopped tomatoes
3 c. beef stock
1 c. dry red wine
2-4 Tablespoons chili powder, to taste
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 bay leaves
2 oz. good, unflavoured dark chocolate
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Soak the beans overnight, a minimum of 8 hours, or use the quick-soak method: put beans in a pot, cover with water by two inches, then bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat, let sit for one hour. Drain.

Put the beans on to boil, cook at the boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer a minimum of 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Pour a small amount of your preferred cooking oil into a large, heavy bottomed pot, and sautĂ© the onions, chilies and garlic until softened. Add the beef, and cook until browned. Stir in the tinned tomatoes (with juice, don’t drain!), wine and beef stock. Add the bay leaves and the chili powder (using more or less to taste). Bring to a simmer, and let cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans, peppers and chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Allow to simmer at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheese, sour cream, boiled rice, or how ever else you like to serve chili.

Notes: We like a pretty spicy chili, so I’ll tend to use 4-5 chilies, and a fair whack of chili powder. Those with a preference for milder chili will probably be happy with 2 chilies and 2 tablespoons of chili powder. It doesn’t much matter if you use red, yellow, orange or green peppers. I tend to mix them, for a bit of colour.

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