Year of the Pulses: Kidney Bean Chili

Jan 27, 2016

2016 has been declared the Year of the Pulses by the United Nations. Pulses are classified as legumes whose seeds have dried, such as beans, peas, lentils, or chickpeas. While the majority of pulses are grown outside of the Greenbelt, in Ontario, our farmers grow navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, cranberry beans, and Japanese beans.

Not only are there many different types to choose from, but pulses reduce the environmental footprint of your grocery cart. They are also rich in fiber and protein, and have high levels of minerals and B-vitamins.

To get you started on taking advantge of the beans that are produced here, you should try our kidney bean chili. It’s a very easy recipe to put together, since it requires few ingredients but it tastes really good.

Kidney Bean Chili

Makes 6 - 500 ml jars, takes 3.5 hours

450 grams kidney beans

1 onion

1 bell pepper

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 liter tomato juice

The beans need to be soaked in water the night before you cook them in order to reduce the cooking time and to remove some of the nutrients that can cause gas. I prefer to change the water of the beans at certain intervals to ensure that the gas causing nutrients are removed.

Once the beans have soaked for 12 plus hours, begin to chop the onion and bell pepper. Add enough olive oil to liberally cover the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat to medium and add the chopped onion and pepper - saute for a few minutes. I find that if you allow the onions to caramelize slightly then the chili will have a sweeter flavour.

Add the beans, bay leaves, paprika, cumin, and salt. Stir the onion and bell pepper mixture with the beans. Pour the tomato juice over the beans and stir once more. My mother loves to add smoked meat to this recipe, she will add anything from smoked ribs to smoked sausage - the key is smoked anything! Turn the heat to medium-high and wait until the tomato juice begins to boil.

As soon as the tomato juice begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and place a lid on the pot. Let the mixture simmer on low heat for 3 hours. Every once in a while, stir the beans to ensure even distribution of heat throughout the pot. I usually use a dutch oven to make this dish since the cast iron and the tight-fitted lid ensure consistent heat distribution. A metal pot might be more temperamental because the beans at the bottom could burn while the beans at the top could be under cooked.

Usually, I will add this chili to 500 ml jars so that I can enjoy delicious chili at work!

– Andreea Nicoara

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