Meet your new favorite any-night-of-the-week dinner candidate. It’s so good and comforting, and it has everything you’d want from a chili:
- Deep, layered flavor – thanks to cumin, dried oregano, ancho chili powder, and smoky chipotle pepper. Also cacao! Yes, it’s unusual, but it adds a next-level dimension.
- Little spicy but nothing crazy – your mouth won’t be on fire, I promise.
- Thick and chunky with a mixture of textures – thanks to tomatoes, beans, and onion.
- Cool toppings – you decide: yogurt, lemon or lime juice, cilantro or parsley, maybe avocado? Just pile it on!
Did I say heirloom beans? What’s that?
Let’s start with what they’re NOT: Your run-of-the-mill, bland, GMO supermarket beans.
Heirloom beans come with a pedigree, sometimes going back one hundred years. They’ve been grown in smaller quantities on family farms, and passed from generation to generation. Some are even like endangered species.
I was able to get mine at the Hollywood farmers market, but you can source them online too. Rancho Gordo in Napa, California, for example, grows many varieties.
Heirloom beans are open-pollinated seeds that you could plant and get the exact same bean. They’re a little temperamental and more difficult to grow, but the upside is their special, unique flavor.
And that’s what you definitely want in your cozy, heart-warming chili.
How to prep and cook dry beans.
- For the stove top method, scroll down for instructions.
- In a slow cooker: Use either soaked beans or cook them right away. (Soaking will reduce the cooking time). Place beans in a slow cooker, cover with 3 inches of water. Put the lid on and cook on high for 3-4 hours (soaked beans) or 4-5 hours (unsoaked beans). Check regularly for doneness.
- In a pressure cooker: Place washed beans in the pressure cooker, cover with 3-4 parts water. Cook under pressure for 20 minutes, then release. Simmer with the lid off for an extra 20 minutes.
Here’s a quick guide for soaking & cooking beans:
Once you have your cooked beans, you’re ready to chill and make chili!
I used good ol’ onion and garlic, and caramelized them for 10 min.
Spices and herbs went it next, followed by crushed tomatoes, and then the cooked beans.
It takes about 45 minutes to cook this chili. (You can eat it right away, but it’s even better the next day, after the flavors had time to deepen and develop.)
Now grab your toppings and top away.
And cold beer is always a good idea to have with chili.
Hungry for more? Check out these delicious recipes:
Are you into heirloom ingredients? What do you like?
Tell me in the comments.Print
One-pot comfort food! This high-protein vegan chili is made with heirloom-beans, tomatoes, onion and vibrant spices.
- 2 cups mixed, dry heirloom beans (note 1) or 6 cups mixed, cooked heirloom beans
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cups diced, peeled yellow onion (about 3 medium onions)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 6 garlic cloves)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 28-ounce can (795 g) chopped tomatoes with their juices
- 1 cup of water or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (La Costeña or Èmbasa brands)
- Lime or lemon
- Yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Cilantro or parsley (chopped)
- Soak the beans (if you’re starting with already cooked beans, skip to step 4). Place the beans in a medium bowl or container, add cold water (it should come 3” above the beans), cover, and let soak on a kitchen counter for minimum 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain the beans, add them to a stock pot, cover with cold water (it should come 4” above the beans), and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered until tender, about 40–45 minutes (do a taste test with the biggest bean–if it’s done, the rest is done too). Drain the beans and set aside.
- Make the chili—you can start about 15 minutes before the beans are done.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the cumin, oregano, ancho chili, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice, and water or stock. Stir in the cocoa and chipotle pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Mix in the cooked beans, reduce the heat to low, and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Taste and add salt to taste if needed.
- Ladle the chili into individual bowls. Squeeze some lime or lemon over the top, top with yogurt, and sprinkle with black pepper, and cilantro or parsley.
- The chili tastes better the next day, reheated, after it had time to set and deepen the flavor. It will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Heirloom beans: I used a mixture of Midnight Black, Cranberry and Cassoullet beans from Rancho Gordo in Napa, California, but feel free to use yourfavorite heirloom beans.
- Freeze: You can store the chili in a tightly covered container and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat.