Homemade Chili – It’s all about the Beans!

Turns out eating beans for every meal isn’t such a bad idea!  Eating beans makes me feel absolutely great and here’s why!


  1. Beans are one of the most important and complete sources of nutrition.
  2. Beans contain:  folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc, calcium, copper and potassium.
  3. The complex carbs found in beans release slowly, giving the body energy long after they are eaten.
  4. Dried beans can sit on the pantry shelf for a long long time.  They are great to have on hand.
  5. Beans are on the forefront of the battle in our country against obesity because people who consume vegetable proteins have lower weight and a smaller waist circumference.  Eating beans also helps control appetite.
  6. Protein, protein, protein with none of the steroids, cholesterol, antibiotics or weird stuff found in meat from the market.
  7. Beans can be prepared in hundreds, if not not thousands, of recipes!!!  Versatile!
  8. Cooking dried beans in your home kitchen, rather than buying canned, saves those nutrients found in the bean.  Canned beans are processed at such high temperatures, most of the nutrients are processed or cooked out of the bean.
  9. Beans are super high in fiber.  Hello, healthy colon!
  10. Beans are cheap.
  11. Beans are very photogenic.


Now that I’ve told you how wonderful the bean is, let me continue by saying my love affair with the bean has, at times, “bean” rocky.  🙂  I started learning about the healthy benefits of beans years ago, and found a recipe for baked beans that sounded awesome from the Neely’s (you know, the Food Network couple).  I have serious doubts about whether the Neely’s ever actually made their recipe because I tried it twice and came out a total disaster; Dutch oven full of crunchy beans that never did and never would cook and become tender, even after being in the oven for about 12 hours.  Turns out that beans can be picky.  The Neely’s broke every bean cooking rule ever with their baked bean recipe.


Cooking Beans – Here’s an excellent source, too, The Bean Institute

Rinse the beans under cold running water.

Pick out any stones, broken beans, twigs or other non-bean debris.

Soak the beans to remove as much of the gassy gas as possible.  There are three methods of soaking:

  1. Hot Soak Method:  Place the beans in a pot with 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.  Bring to a boil for about 2 – 3 minutes and let soak for 4 – 24 hours.  Drain and rinse the beans well with cool, fresh water.  This method will remove the most gas.
  2. Traditional Soak Method:  Place the beans in cold water and let them soak overnight.  They may be a little wrinkly, but they’ll continue hydrating while cooking.
  3. Quick Soak Method:  My personal favorite – Place the beans in a pot with 6 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.  Bring to a boil for 2 – 3 minutes, then let soak for one hour.

Either of the boiling water soaks will remove most of the color from the beans that will ruin the presentation of your soups or bean dishes.  Any dark-colored bean in the mix will turn the water red or black, so it’s good to dump that discolored water down the drain.

Now that the beans are soaked, they must be cooked in fresh water.  The only ingredients that can be added to the beans at this point are:  onions, herbs and a Tablespoon of oil to keep the pot from boiling over, if using the stovetop method.

This is where many recipes go wrong.  Adding lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, chili sauce, ketchup, molasses, wine or any acidic or calcium-rich ingredient to the beans before they are tender will result in crunchy beans.  

Some beans cook in 30 minutes, but most are done in about 2 – 3 hours on the stovetop.  Putting the beans in a slow cooker on low at bedtime or before work works great because the beans are then ready to be used in any recipe after cooking for about 7 – 8 hours (on low in a slow cooker).  To test beans for doneness, put a few on a spoon and taste-test.  No crunch is good news!

Well, this Bean Tutorial has “bean” great, but onto the recipe!!!

Homemade Chili

By June 7, 2015

Dried beans are a powerhouses of protein, fiber, minerals and help fight obesity.  Beans, Beans, let's eat 'em for every meal!



Soak the beans using the Quick Soak method:  Place about 12 cups of water and the beans in a large pot and bring to a boil for about 2 - 3 minutes.  Allow the beans to soak in the hot water for about an hour.  Drain and rinse the beans, and finish cooking in fresh clean water.

Cook the beans until tender - about 2 - 3 hours stovetop or 4 - 5 hours on high in a slow cooker or 7 - 8 hours on low in a slow cooker.

Once the beans are tender, proceed with the rest of the recipe.  It's ok to use the water the beans were cooking in at this point.

To make chili on the stovetop, brown the burger (drain if necessary) with the garlic, green peppers and onions in a large cast iron skillet, add some salt and pepper.  Add to the bean pot.  Cook for about an hour, then add all the tomatoes and seasonings.  Cook for about 2 - 3 hours on stovetop or 4 - 5 hours on high in slow cooker.  Cook on low in the slow cooker for 7 - 8 hours.  About 30 minutes before serving, mix the masa in the water and stir into the chili to thicken and add flavor.

Serve topped with shredded sharp cheese, sour cream and chives or fresh chopped chives or onions and cornbread or tortilla chips.  Hits the spot!

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2 Responses to Homemade Chili – It’s all about the Beans!

  1. Don

    Sounds great and fresh baked rolls would be great. What about peanut butter on the bread?

    • Profile photo of Julie

      Yum, peanut butter on homemade bread would be AWESOME! And some homemade strawberry jelly! Or rolls 🙂 I like the way you think!

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