5 Bean Chilli

19 Sep

I like to serve this 5 bean chilli in tortillas with salad and roasted sweet potato. Adjust the heat to your liking, as written the recipe makes a fairly spicy chilli but not blow-your-head-off. And be warned- this isn’t a quick recipe. It’s very easy but the beans need a lot of time to soak and cook so make sure you give yourself enough time so that you don’t end up eating at midnight!

80 g of each red kidney beans, black eye beans, pinto beans, haricot beans and black beans (or a mixture of whatever beans you want/have to make up 400 g). Dried, not tinned!
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced into half moons
4 big cloves of garlic, sliced
2 mild red chillies, chopped finely
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
2x400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
Lime (optional)

Soak the beans in a bowl of water for at least 5 hours. They absorb a lot of water so make sure to give them plenty.

After the beans have soaked drain them and put them in a large sauce pan and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes then turn down and simmer for 45 minutes. It’s really important not to skip the boiling step; there’s a toxin in red kidney beans which is only destroyed by boiling them.

Meanwhile in another large sauce pan, fry the onion in the oil over a moderate heat until it begins to soften (about 10 minutes) then add the garlic and chilli and fry for a minute. Next add the spices and fry for a further minute.

Add the tinned tomatoes, oregano and about 200ml of water to the onion mixture and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. The tomatoes will start to break down and form a smooth sauce.

After the beans have been simmering for 45 minutes they should be soft and creamy inside. I usually fish one out to test it. If it’s still a little hard inside keep on cooking them, testing every 10 minutes or so. Once they’re soft drain them and add to the tomato mixture.

The beans then need a further hour of gentle cooking in the tomato sauce (told you it was a long recipe!) this allows all the flavours to mingle and the beans to get even softer. Just turn the heat down low and put a lid on the pan and leave them to it. Check every so often to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan and that it’s not drying out too much, it if is just add a little more water. It’s up to you how saucy to make it, I keep it on the thick side so that it’s easier to wrap in a tortilla.

Once it’s ready season with salt. Normally you’d add salt earlier on in a recipe but when you’re cooking beans it can make them tough so save it for the end. I also like to finish it off with the juice of a lime just to brighten up the flavours.

Serves 6 easily, but keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge if you don’t have that many people to feed.

About the writer: Catherine is a biology geek by day and cake baker by night. When she’s not in the kitchen you’ll be able to find her writing, tending to her tomato plant or curled up reading one of her many cookbooks.


One Response to “5 Bean Chilli”

  1. Mike Somerset 19/09/2012 at 10:40 am #

    Neat recipe!

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