There are so many things to love about eating chili–not the least of which is the comforting way the spiciness helps ward off the cold as the weather grows chilly.
In addition, Chili can be extremely healthy because of the high iron content in the ground beef and kidney (or small red) beans. Plus, the huge amount of fiber in the beans–19 grams/cup of kidney beans or 32 grams fiber/cup of small red beans–also sticks to the ribs like nothing else can, making you feel full much longer than lower-fiber meals. Plus, beans are packed full of antioxidants, a class of phytochemicals that incapacitate cell-damaging free radicals in the body.
Another health benefit of eating chili is the chili powder it contains: this fantastic spice is believed to relieve achy joints. (Research shows that capsaicin, found in chili peppers, has an anti-inflammatory effect that may help reduce arthritic swelling and pain.)
Another great thing about chili is that it actually tastes better as leftovers than when it was first made! That’s because the chili powder and other spices used in the recipe have that much more time to soak into the beans and meat. And you can “mix up” the flavor by serving your chili over rice, noodles, or on crusty slabs of bread. (You can even steam some dumplings right on top of the chili as it’s cooking–but that’s a recipe for another day!
- 1 lb dry red kidney beans (or small red beans, which have great flavor and are higher in fiber and iron than kidney beans)
- 2 lb lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large green pepper, chopped
- 4 T olive oil
- 6 T chili powder
- 2/3 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
- 3 T hot sauce (like TABASCO)
- 2 T Better Than Bullion Beef base
- Optional: 10 slices picked jalepeneo pepper, chopped
3 Hours In Advance: How to Prepare the Dry Beans for Making Chili
- Add 1 lb dried kidney or small red beans to a deep pot containing 10 cups spring water. Boil 2 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 hour. (The beans will start to soften up as they sit.)
- Stir beans around in water to help knock loose any tiny rocks that may exist, then drain. (Dried beans may have a few of these particles still floating around in the bag.) Rinse well with clean, cool water.
- Return beans to pot along with enough water to cover the beans by a few inches. Boil beans for 2-3 hours, or until soft, making sure to add additional water as necessary.
Three Hours Later: The Main Event
Preparing the Chili
- Place softened beans in Nesco Roaster Ovenof a large crockpot. (See my NESCO Roaster Oven review, and why I like my NESCO better than any crockpot I’ve ever owned.)
- In a deep frying pan, add 4 T olive oil and chopped onions and green peppers. Cook 10-15 minutes on medium, or until onion turns translucent. Add cooked veggies to crockpot.
- In a deep frying pan, brown ground beef; drain any excess fat, then add meat to crockpot.
- Add just enough spring water to crockpot to cover ingredients; turn temperature to high (350 degrees if using the NESCO Roaster Oven)
- Add chili powder, Better than Bullion, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, (jalepeneo peppers, if desired), and tomato paste; cook for 1-2 hours.
- Chow down!
Optional additional ingredients that can be added to crockpot along with onions and peppers: 1 cup of frozen corn, 3 cloves roasted sliced garlic, 16 ounce cubed canned tomatoes, and/or 2 cups sliced fresh tomatoes.
Chili can be served as-is, on a bed of rice or Barilla Plus Penne noodles (high in fiber, made with bean flour), or with hearty chunks of sourdough bread. Chili is delicious topped with sour cream or cheddar cheese, as desired.