Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beans ...

Well, here I am. I can't believe it. About to type words that I never imagined would even enter my stream of consciousness, as I would (and vehemently do) curse anyone wishing upon us anything other than balmy beauty (see rant on inhumane cold here). I, dear readers, have been eagerly waiting for this day to come. This cold day. Sweater on, drinking pu'erh ginger tea, slightly uncomfortable but must be outside nails slightly blue kind of cold day. I swear. Can you believe it? I thought for sure I would "have to" wait to share this experience with you. Well, either that or bear the ridicule that surely follows an attempt to post about a Pig roast and a hot steamy Chili in 40 degree weather. Well, it was cold and rainy on Pig day (see below for a peek of tomorrow's Swine ... post) and cold and really rainy on Chili day. And, as the God's have it, cold (though not rainy) today for my post! Ha! Happy day.

So, first things first. The beans. I, have a Chili recipe. For very special nights. You know the ones. The early, just beginning, summer nights, when it's cool outside and you are curled up with windows open, listening to the heavy rain outside, feeling the breeze caress your skin, breathing in the earth that rides its current.

Time to dish.

Early summer night's Chili

Here is what you need:

  • 2 tbs of Olive Oil
  • Farmers onions - 3 large, diced
  • Garlic - 3cloves - finely minced
  • Celery - 7 stalks - sliced into 1/4 thick pieces 
  • Carrots - 5 - sliced like the celery
  • Mushrooms, lots, thickly sliced
  • Cumin, Fennel and Coriander seeds - 1 tbs each
  • Dried whole Ancho Negro chili -1
  • Dried whole Chipotle Grande chili - 1
  • Sugar - 2 tbs
  • Ginger powder - 1 tbs
  • Important: Smoked Paprika - Pimenton de la Vera "LA DALIA" (trust me) - oh and 3 tablespoons
  • Cider Vinegar  - a glug, aka 2 tbs
  • Soy sauce  - a big glug, aka 3 tbs
  • Canned tomatoes  - 1 can whole plum, 1 can pureed
  • Water - 4 cups
  • Black, baby white and red beans, lots (canned or dried - if dried, you know what to do)


  • Fresh Coriander, lots
  • Cheddar, lots
  • Butter, enough
  • Tortilla Chips, warmed through

Here is what to do:

  1. In a big beautiful pot, your favorite, sautee your onions and garlic until fragrant. Then add the carrots and celery and let them  get to know the onions and garlic, you know, for about 5 minutes. Then add your tomatoes, dried spices, chilies, seeds, vinegar, soy, sugar, smoked paprika and ginger powder...phfew...what a mouthful. Add the water for consistency. At this point let everybody simmer (on low heat) together for about an hour until they are all happy and blended. Stir occasionally.
  2. Once all the flavors and aromas have blended, add your beans and cook through for another twenty minutes.

To serve: Well, I had two versions. One for me which was garnished with coriander, cheddar cheese and a squeeze of lime. One for husband. In his I added a few knobs of butter and folded them in at the very end, placed the chili bowl under the broiler for a few minutes so the cheddar can get all bubbly. I also heated the tortilla chips. It was awesome.

A peek...

While I work through the pig roast shots for tomorrows post, here is a peek ...

A peek ...


  1. Alessandro R. Maffei Carcasci di PaternoJune 29, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Oana: here's my contribution to the Bean 'cult' with the "FAGIOLI ALL'UCCELLETTO" recipe. We, people of Tuscany, are known in Italy as "mangiafagioli", or bean eaters...

    1 pound dried white Beans [Cannellini or Flageolet] picked over.
    1/2 head of Garlic [sliced not minced].
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive Oil.
    1 [16oz] can Italian "Pelati" [chopped] tomatoes with their juice.
    Generous amount of fresh Sage [15/20 large leaves].
    Salt & Pepper.
    In a large (preferably non-metallic) bowl soak beans in enough cold water to cover by 3 inches for at least 8 hours or better overnight.
    Drain beans in a colander and return to saucepan with enough cold water to cover them by 2inches. Simmer the beans, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, (they should be "al dente") and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid. Drain beans in a colander.
    In a heavy kettle (preferably enameled or ceramic) stir-fry sliced garlic in olive oil until soft and golden. Add sage leaves, stirring for a minute, then add reserved cooking liquid, beans, tomatoes with juice, salt and pepper to taste and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until thickened, adding some water if necessary, about 30 minutes. The beans should be served very soft but not pasty.

    Try it as a side for some grilled Italian Sausage: 'buonissimi!'

  2. I'm having difficulty imagining how ginger plays with the other flavours in this chilli...can you say more? And I don't think I've ever seen butter as a garnish for chilli, but I like that idea. Butter makes everything better!

  3. @ Ale - I love you mangiafagioli's. I adore this bean dish, it's one of my favorites to make in the summer (of which we have none here, it's freezing). I've never made it with tomatoes though, only simmered in broth, olive oil, garlic and topped with tons of fresh sage. When adventurous I would add some boar bacon pieces. It sounds great with the addition of tomaotes. When are you going to send me some pictures of what you are cooking in paradise?!

  4. @ Katie - The secret's out. It adds another earthy layer and a new spice (heat) dimension. It's kind of like the anchovy to me in this dish, you don't quite know what that extra flavor is but you know it's so good.
    As for the butter, yeah, it's unusual but awesome. This chili is practically fat free given there is so little olive oil and no extra fat from meat so I left the option open by leaving the butter out of the whole recipe and folding it in the individual plate. It's great. If you try it let me know what you think.

  5. This chili recipe looks incredible.

  6. @ Anonymous - It is :). If you try it let me know what you think.