National Bean Day was Wednesday and I had every intention of sharing 3 of my favorite bean recipes. But, I got carried away with all the different varieties and brands out there, and couldn’t narrow down my options. Until late last night when the unexpected urge to have chili hit me. Maybe it was because the temperature dropped to 25 after being in the 60s. That kind of volatility will drive you to stay home and cook.
Where I come from, beans are a staple and major element to our diet. They’re a fantastic source of protein and fiber. Even the more fattening one are good for you. Because beans are complex carbohydrates, they offer an extremely amount of energy and quickly fill you up, allowing you to avoid a super splurge on sugar just an hour later. From my unofficial research and survey among friends, black beans seem to be the most popular and favored as they’ve made the cross-over to American cuisine. I’ve worked with black beans my entire life and have found them to be the best go-to bean for meatless dishes requiring something meaty, earthy and of substance. Pour well cooked and seasoned beans over white rice (Jasmine or plain long grain) and you’ve scored a serious comfort meal.
Second to black beans, I’d personally say that garbanzo or chickpeas are top on the list of frequently eaten beans. While chickpeas are actually a legume, they are often mistaken for beans and are used and referred to as such. They come in many varieties and are extremely versatile, much like the black bean. It’s also very meaty and acts a great filler. We all love hummus, right? The white or light yellow colored garbanzo is responsible for the dip so often served with pita chips.
Because beans are so inexpensive and accessible to everyone, they’re used in a lot of different cuisines and meals. From fast food restaurants offering bean burritos, to the most exquisite star rated restaurant making a delectable bean purée, beans are in more places than you could possibly think of.
Now that it’s winter, it’s not question for me to keep my pantry filled with at least 6 different kinds of beans. I have to have enough options in the event I get sick of one. Eating black beans 4 days a week is not my idea of really enjoying them, though I’m totally guilty of having done that. Hey, beans always taste better the 2nd and 3rd day. Always. But, when you can make food like chili, a quintessential American stew bean stew of sorts, as I did last night, you can have all the fun in the world and play with mixing and matching little pods.
I hadn’t made a really good and robust chili in a while so I decided to get fancy and add ingredients I’d not usually incorporated into my recipe. There’s bar chili and then there’s really good chili! I consider this one to fall in the latter category. A bit of sage, truffle oil, lean meat and a combination of the right beans and you’ve got a bowl of chili good enough to package and market!
For the fabulous two bean and sage chili recipe, check out the rest of my column on Dean & DeLuca’s Gourmet Blog here.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
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- 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 1/2 cup dry garbanzos
- 1/2 cup dry kidney beans
- 3-4 large fresh tomatoes, chunked
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup salt-free cup chicken broth
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 oz. tomato paste
- 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp. chili powder
- 3 tbsp. black truffle oil
- 6 sage leaves, minced
- 3 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. jalapeño, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- pepper to taste
Wash and rinse beans. Add beans, salt and bay leaf to 4 quarts of water in pressure cooker. Turn pressure to highest setting according to manual’s instruction and turn heat to high. When pressure cooker begins to hiss, reduce heat to medium and allow beans to cook for 40 minutes. While means are cooking heat truffle oil in large non-stick or stainless steel skillet. Add meat and fork apart using wooden fork. Cook meat until brown, scraping up any extra browned pieces. Add tomatoes, red wine vinegar, cumin, oregano, sage, onions, garlic, and green pepper. Combine well and cover. Cook on medium-high heat until tomatoes being to cook down and become liquid. Turn off heat on bean and release all pressure from pressure cooker. Uncover pressure cooker and add meat and tomato mixture to beans. Add black pepper, chili powder, chicken broth and tomato paste. Mix well and cover pressure cooker with regulator on it. Cook on low-medium for another 15 minutes. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow all pressure to be released.
Garnish with fresh sage leaves and serve with garlic roasted tortilla chips. Yields 6 bowls.