I'm making a bean-based "chili", any suggestions or tips?

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My "chili" eating/cooking experience is pretty limited. Mostly this from back when I would work nights - one of the fastest meals to get ready.


Now today I want to make my own!

I've been soaking red kidney beans + black turtle beans all night, got a couple of 14oz cans diced tomatoes, and a large onion. 

I'm using quotes around the word "chili" because my little one isn't a spice lover so I'll be using very little chilies in this chili. And I'm starting with beans anyway so any worry about authenticity is already out the window: it's not going to be the concern for today. I just want a good bowl of bean-based (texmex?) chili. 

So what else do I add? I would like to add a little bit of chili in adobo sauce, I'll have to be careful not to overdo it for my little one. Although that'll give him an excuse to pile on more sour cream, which he'll love! :)

Veggies: celery? bell peppers? carrots? what do people around here add to their chili?

Meat: do I get ground beef? Lean? Or cubed beef? Sirloin is on sale today... maybe I'll cube it, sear it and add at the last minute to keep it med-rare? Or does that not work with chili? 

Some freshly chopped green onions for serving? Maybe a few avocado slices along with the sour cream? 
 

phatch

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Cumin oregano garlic, dried ground chile and salt. Those 5 seasonings are the basis of chili powder and chili itself. Onion of course. Finish with some masa harina. Lime juice can be a nice finish. Some ground coriander is compatible as well.
 
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Great! Thanks so much for the answers. 

@phatch   cumin is a given, for sure!! Garlic, Oregano, Salt, check. Dried ground chili... well I'll have to be careful of the heat. I've never used chili powder and don't have any at hand but I have some dried chili and could grind some. 

By onion of course... do you mean raw diced onion as a topping?

Masa Harina! Didn't know that. Is it to thicken it I guess? 

Limes! Of course! How could I forget. 

I think I'll probably make some flour-tortillas as well. Corn ones if I can be bothered (I always have more trouble with the corn ones). 

@Koukouvagia  thanks I'd seen that recipe by googling but it's good to hear it's got your vote of confidence. Bell peppers... I love bell peppers so much but I do have a tendency to add the to just about everything. 

Great, that gives me some good pointers. 
 
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  • Koukouvagia's recipe covers all the bases, I also agree on the amount heat. I remember making chili in one of my food services. After rendering the ground beef you can throw some flour into the dripping so as to act like a roux for a thickening agent. I never tried using the corn flour (Masa Harina) at this point of the recipe. I do add chopped onions when I'm browning the meat and green peppers also work well.
 
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  • After rendering the ground beef you can throw some flour into the dripping so as to act like a roux for a thickening agent.
Now that sounds (to me) like I'm making some form of boeuf bourguignon!! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif  Makes total sense. Thanks for the tip. 
 
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A tip I got from America's Test Kitchen is to add about a half to a quarter cup of finely-ground walnuts. Adds to the texture and umami.
 

phatch

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Replace the normal volume of chile with paprika--you'll get some similar vegetal taste and sweetness which ground chile also adds. And the important color. Onions, saute at the beginning. It's a fine garnish as well, but I do better with chopped green onion. Bulb onion raw tends to give me heartburn anymore.   Shallot instead of onion and garlic could be a fun experiment, but could drive up the price beyond reason for the necessary volume. 

Masa harina at the end for thickening and corn flavor. I've taken corn torillas and shredded them in the food processor when I didn't have Masa Harina on hand. Works just fine too. 
 
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Chocolate. I add chocolate to beanless chili. Cacao, actually. Unsweetened.Never with beaned, but you never know. Been mentioned here before on the chili topic. 

Serve with finely sliced green onions, sour cream, and fresh cilantro. And sometimes grated jalapeno jack. That way you can increase heat locally to one bowl, not the entire batch. 
 
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I could have sworn someone here suggested fried tortilla chips... so while at the Mexican supermarket I grabbed a bag of tostadas. I'm sure the kids will love it and the crunch should complement the texture of the chili. 

On the other hand I forgot the limes. ARGH! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif
 
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Cider vinegar will probably do the job.
Good idea (again). However I think I'll probably pass... or use one of my Meyer lemons... but yeah I'll probably just pass on the acid I guess. At least for tonight, I made a pot that's going to last us for at least 3 meals!
 
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Chocolate. I add chocolate to beanless chili. Cacao, actually. Unsweetened.Never with beaned, but you never know. Been mentioned here before on the chili topic. 

Serve with finely sliced green onions, sour cream, and fresh cilantro. And sometimes grated jalapeno jack. That way you can increase heat locally to one bowl, not the entire batch. 
I use dark Cocoa powder and Mexican oregano.  Go to a Latino grocery store and try different chili powders,  Chili powders range from bland to hot. Using a mild powder will add flavor without the heat.  I also use pinto beans.   
 
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Yes to the masa finish (I had to use ground Fritos once...acceptable).

Not only thickens but acts like an acid buffer.....like sour cream.

mimi
 
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It turned out great. I ended up dividing the result into two batches and added a good amount of chipotle in adobo to the "adult" batch, leaving the "kids" batch alone. Everybody was happy. The kids had fun breaking the tostadas, making little "spoons" with them and dipping them in the chili. And they love sour cream so anything with a spoon of sour cream on it sounds decadent to them anyway. 

I was hoping it would last for 3 meals but it's already gone. 
 
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Coffee, preferably fresh, but it's why we keep instant on hand. Beer too, everything from Porter's to chili beers. Also use several different kinds of chilies almost always Chipolte & Adobe for beef based, depends on what you're going for.

Re laurenlulu & the beef base, completely agree. We've used everything from house bone broth to demi glace. Fresh beans if you can get them or have access. Hard core Texas chili fans will insist on chili ain't chili if it has beans, sorry guys, I like beans in my chili. 

Tomatoes?, just as important, have a real fondness for a mix of fire roasted and "regular" canned/jarred or in season fresh. Usually reserved for a special marinara and bolognese sauces have also heirlooms.  

Ran across my first batch of "Cowboy Beans" supposedly from Texas (or was it New Mexico?) a while back, chili like but sweeter (think BBQ sauce) and with 5-6 different kinds of beans, one of those things you can eat all week.

Cheers!

EDG
 
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My buddy Sergio was certainly be offended by much of what passes for chili.

"Chili (as he so eloquently put it) is a very eloquent dish.  There are no tomatoes used. Reconstituded dried peppers, onion, cumin, salt and pepper. The dried peppers provide the essential profile and the sauce requires nothing else, though some peanut butter adds good flavor, bay leaf also, sugar (he always added peanut butter and sugar), and garlic if you want.  Then of course meat, and some added beans if you want them.  It is a very eloquent dish."

Most Mexican peppers, I think, provide great flavor but very little heat so long as you remove the seeds.  I recall using pacilla, Califonia peppers, and guadula I think, along with a bunch of others I can no longer recall.
 
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