New Mexico 4 Bean Chili

I have a great tried and true 3 bean chili in my repertoire already, but four beans is certainly better than three right?  I got the idea for this New Mexico style chilli after picking up the Happy Planet version for a very rushed supper one night before Christmas.  They call theirs Santa Fe Chili, so I’ve decided to call mine New Mexico to be different.  Theirs is also $6.99 for a single portion, and mine probably cost that for what I’m going to guess will be 6 portions.  By the time I add some guacamole and cheese on top I’ll probably be looking at around $2.50 per meal. I also happened to have some leftover pico de gallo leftover from last night nacho extravaganza so I threw that on top too.

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I would like to preface this by saying that I do not have Happy Planet’s recipe for chilli, as much as I would love it.  I simply looked at the ingredients on their package and decided to give it a whirl.  Chili is a very personal thing I think.  Some people, like me, enjoy the addition of a little cinnamon or cocoa powder, where others are repulsed by that idea. Some people love to add insanely spicy chili peppers, and others would say chili has to have meat in it, not just beans.  In the states you can even buy a beanless chili (in a can of course)! Here’s a family favourite from the days when I ate processed food if you’re wondering what the heck to do with beanless chili (total sidebar I know!).

Anyways, my New Mexico version contains all of the ingredients that Happy Planet uses with the exception of yam puree.  I had a yam out and ready to go, but my crock pot got too full of other stuff so I had to leave it out on this round.  I also had to guess at their spice blend, because they don’t list out the individual spices they use.  But really, everyone knows that chili powder is the one essential ingredient you must use, and in addition to that, I’d also suggest cumin is necessary.  I like to add a little ground coriander and a pinch of cinnamon.  I didn’t use cocoa powder this time, but for some sweetness I did add maple syrup.

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The beauty of a pot of chili is that it’s cheap, nutritious, quick (since the slow cooker does all the heavy lifting) and it will make your house smell amazing.  It also lasts up to a week in the fridge so you don’t have to eat it every day.  Do make sure you plan ahead, because you’ll need to soak your beans overnight!

Beans: 3/4 cup each dried pinto, red kidney and black beans, and the same of chick peas (or garbanzo beans as we’ll call them for the purposes of making this a 4 bean chili).

Soak the beans overnight and then drain, rinse and pick them over.  I found a small stone in my beans a few weeks back, so don’t overlook this step.  I have been boiling my beans in advance of putting them in my chili, because I find that they cook better.  I don’t like my chili beans to retain any bite as others might.  I like them to almost mushy.  There is nothing worse than letting your chili cook all day, only to find that your beans aren’t done to your liking. 

Chili:

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 large can tomato sauce, or jar of strained Italian tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 pepper (colour of your choice) chopped – I used an orange one
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels (I used frozen)
  • 2 T real maple syrup (if you’re going to use the fake stuff use honey instead)
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander + fresh if you have it
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • Juice of a lime

Mix the above in with the beans in a slow cooker and season with salt and pepper (save the fresh coriander and lime juice for the end).  Turn on high for 1-2 hours, and then reduce to low for another couple of hours, or until you’re ready to eat.  You could probably do this over low heat in a dutch oven if you don’t have a slow cooker, but it will require some attention during the cooking process.

Top off your smouldering beauty with cheese and guac, and sour cream if you’re feeling in the mood.  I like to scoop mine up with tortilla chips, but that’s also optional.  Enjoy, and if you have any additions or variations let me know, because I’m also up for improving on my chili!

I washed mine down with the remnants of my growler of “Ocean” from 33 Acres and it was absolutely delicious!

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