Tag Archives: beans

{Heartwarming and Nourishing} Beef and Bean Chili


I recently started cooking with the grass-fed Montana beef we got stocked in the freezer this Fall from the yearling that my husband’s rancher friend butchered for us.  The first thing I wanted to cook up with it was a big pot of Chili, and while I was at it I managed to make a pot of Beef Stock too.  It all turned out so good, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of hot, homemade, heartwarming soup or stew, with a little bread to go with it this time of year.

Since the ground beef and stock was as local and all-natural as I can get it, I decided to soak my beans to keep it healthy and nourishing.  I used kidney beans and black beans, covered them with warm water and a little lemon juice in a large bowl to soak overnight, then after 15 hours of soaking they were drained and rinsed, then covered with water in a pot and simmered for about three hours.

With the help of my cousin over at Born in the Wrong Century, reading this blog post over at Nourished Kitchen, and my Nourishing Traditions cookbook, I have recently learned a little about the benefits of soaking beans, grains, and legumes before cooking them.  Basically soaking is an old traditional method of preparing and cooking these items and it enhances the nourishment and nutrient value in them by reducing the effects of the anti-nutrients, the phytates and enzyme inhibitors, which keep the minerals from being absorbed by your body.

This preparation neutralizes the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors and breaks down the difficult-to-digest complex sugars.  This then allows them to be completely digestible and the essential minerals and nutrients to be well assimilated and absorbed.  I can definitely tell a difference when I eat Chili made with soaked beans (vs canned), there is almost no problem with gas or bloating, no need for Bean-o!!  And the taste and texture is so much better.  If you’re wanting to learn more about soaking, the links above are a good place to start.

::Basic Soaked Chili Beans::

1 c. kidney beans
1 c. black beans
1 c. pinto beans
3 T. fresh lemon juice

Place dry beans in a large bowl and cover with warm water, add in the lemon juice.  Set aside in a warm place for 12-16 hours.  Drain out the soaking water, rinse, pour beans back into pot and cover with water, and add in optional spices: 3 T chili powder, 1 T  garlic powder, 2 T kosher salt, 1 T black pepper.  Bring to a boil, skim off foam, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2-4 hours, adding water as necessary to keep beans covered.  Cook until they’re tender but still a little firm… al dente.

::Beef and Bean Chili::

1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, halved or quartered and sliced
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
2 t. chili powder
1-2 t. dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
1 t. salt
2-3 T tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can crushed (unseasoned) tomatoes and the juices (or 4 big organic garden tomatoes, pureed in food processor)
1 (28 oz) can diced (unseasoned) tomatoes and juices
6-8 c. combination of kidney, black, and pinto beans, soaked, drained, simmered, drained
3-ish quarts beef stock, or as needed to get desired consistency

Heat about 4 T olive oil in bottom of a large soup pot, when hot add in onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 min.  Add in garlic, cook 2-3 min., sprinkle in salt and pepper, add carrots and saute another 5 min. stirring often.  Add ground burger and cook until browned, meanwhile adding in the chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes.  Stir in tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes along with their juices.  Stir and then add in enough soaked beans and beef stock to get desired consistency.  Let simmer 1-2 hours, salt and pepper to taste.

Well that’s about what I did, when I make big pots of soup I just throw it all in as I go, cooking up all the layers of flavors.  So these are not my exact* measurements, but very close.  We just got done eating this Chili for the last four nights, and I’m telling you, no gas/indigestion/bloating problems at all!  It’s a very flavorful, comforting, old fashioned Chili.  If you’ve never got into the habit of soaking your beans before cooking with them, I hope you are inspired to try it out!  It takes some thinking ahead, but really is quite simple to toss them in a bowl covered with water and lemon juice in the evening and let them set until you cook ’em up the next day.  I also like to soak black beans overnight, simmer the next day, then keep them in the fridge to use for burritos and yummy mexican dinners for the week.

I wanted to also share my first Beef Stock experience, but that will have to wait until next time.  =)

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Dilly Beans

Well I had a full day of work today, made 2 Chocolate Hazelnut Tortes, a Ricotta Tart in an Almond Crust, 2 Lemon Olive Oil Poundcakes, one New York Cheesecake, a Tiramisu, some Tuille cookies, Flathead Cherry Sauce (for the cheesecake of course), and a Rhubarb Compote for the tart.  Whew!  I will post recipes for a couple of those lovely sweet treats soon.  But for now I wanted to tell you about the Dilly Beans I made and canned a few days ago.

Last week Will was working in WA and visited the produce farms in the area.  He brought home a large bag of green beans, among some other great fresh produce. 🙂  So I figured this was my opportunity to make Dilly Beans for first time and can them.

I ended up with six pint jars of canned beans and gave two to my mom.  I like them a lot, they are very dilly and very good.  If you like pickles or pickled asparagus, you’ll love these.  Perfect to snack on, have as an appetizer, or even part of a meal.  I put a couple in my sandwich since I didn’t have pickles!

The recipe is from my cousin, Nichole, over at Born in the Wrong Century.  It can also be found in one of my favorite books, Williams-Sonoma The Art of Preserving.  Nichole recommended it to me a year ago and I’m so glad I got it.


It is chock-full of beautiful photos, great recipes, and helpful instructions on canning.  If you love to cook, and enjoy canning also, this is a great book to add to your collection!  Very inspirational during the summer months, but can be used all year long.

::Dilly Beans::
(Compliments of Nichole)

(Yield – 6 pints)
3 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
6 Tbsp kosher salt
3 cups filtered water
6 fresh dill heads (or 6 Tbsp dill seeds & 6 fresh dill sprigs)
Cayenne pepper
Yellow mustard seed
6 cloves garlic
4 lb green beans

In a sauce pan combine vinegar, salt and water. Bring to a boil to dissolve salt.

Meanwhile, place the following in each sterile, hot pint jar: 1 dill head (or 1 Tbsp seeds & 4 sprigs), 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/8 tsp mustard seed and 1 clove garlic. Trim the beans so they are 1/2 inch shorter than the pint jar. Pack the beans as tight as possible into the jars.

Ladle the hot brine into the jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles and add more brine if necessary. Wipe the rims and seal. Process the jars for 15 minutes (for 5k’ elevation) in a hot water bath. Let cool and check the seals.

I will add that I ended up making twice as much brine, I ran out while filling my jars! 🙂

Have you had, or made, Dilly Beans before?

Mom, you better pop open that jar and enjoy!

🙂