Hallowe’en is around the corner and Diane from The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is hosting this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free. Diane’s theme is Scared Silly. She wanted us to create something using an ingredient we once feared. Well people, I used to fear beans. I knew nothing about them and therefore never ate them or cooked them.
Growing up my Dad and my sister and I used to sing the song Beans beans the musical fruit, the more you eat…well you get the idea. So why would a young girl want to eat something that would give her gas?
On top of that, my Mom grew up on beans, beans, and more beans and basically vowed to never eat beans again. Therefore I never ate beans growing up. The only kind I remotely remember eating were canned beans – the kind that go with pork and beans. I just wasn’t exposed to all of the lovely varieties of beans.
Facing my fear
However, when I moved to Vancouver, B.C. to go to Teacher’s College, I began my first stint as a vegetarian so beans became part of my diet. But I still didn’t cook them. Just ate them when someone else cooked them.
It wasn’t until my second stint as a vegetarian that I really started eating and cooking with beans. I found a great recipe for black bean burritos and this quickly became a weekly staple for Pete and myself.
Back then I always used canned beans. Who was I to soak and cook my own? I would look in cookbooks that suggested that and think, “Nope, not me. Now where’s that can of beans?”
But then one day I tried it – thanks to the “it’s easy” encouragement from my friend Glenn. And of course, thanks to Dreena Burton’s quick-soak method.
So now, once a week I pick a bean and it does us for a couple of dinners and a couple of lunches. Every now and then, when the week gets away on me or when I’m feeling like living on the edge, I crack open a can of beans instead of doing the soaking-cooking thing.
So with all of this talk of beans, let’s get onto my chili recipe! I chose kidney and azuki beans for this recipe but you could easily use whatever beans are in your cupboard. The azuki beans were nice because they’re pretty small so they kind of disappear into the chili so if you’re not a huge bean fan, this is the chili for you!
I added squash and sweet potato to the recipe because I love them, but also because I wanted to make my chili a little bit creamy and a little bit sweet.
Inspired by Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s recipe for 3 Bean Chili
4 tbsp water
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 medium sized chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped peppers (I used red and green)
1 hot yellow pepper, finely chopped (no seeds – hot enough without)
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (no seeds – I am still afraid of peppers)
3 – 14 oz cans of tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup frozen corn
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups azuki beans
2 cups kidney beans
1 cup roasted and mashed acorn squash
1 ½ cups roasted and mashed sweet potato
3 tsp sea salt
1 handful of chopped cilantro (optional)
Heat 4 tablespoons of water in a large soup pot (water replaces the oil and cuts down on the fat – tip courtesy of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau). Add garlic and onion and cook until soft. Add carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Add peppers, stir to combine and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, water and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and then add beans, squash, sweet potato, and sea salt. Stir to evenly incorporate the squash and sweet potato. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.
Serve piping hot garnished with guacamole, cashew sour cream, and a sprig or two of cilantro (or a crispy rice tortilla like I did).
Serves 8-10. I used fresh peppers for this recipe and it was the perfect heat for two little kiddies to enjoy. If you don’t have fresh peppers, add 1-2 tablespoons of chili powder. And if you’re really adventurous, up the heat by adding some seeds or more chili powder. Beware though, this chili gets hotter as the flavours marry.
As always, this recipe is linked to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.
This post is also linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker
Last but not least, I submitted this post to a Texas Chili Cook-Off! Helen from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage is hosting, go check out all of the delicious looking chili recipes.