Nothing beats three bean chili on a cold night or a comforting family meal. But what if you have no slow cooker?
Once, I went three months without a slow cooker during a very cold winter before getting a replacement. And then a replacement for the replacement (long story, don’t ask).
So I had to work out a chili recipe without my slow cooker to hand. I mean, who can go without chili in winter for three months? And this was a Canadian winter.
The thing to remember is that slow cookers are more for convenience than taste.
Yes, the stewing and slow heat gets all those lovely flavors to mix together. The things is…. they mix together. When you cook over a shorter time on higher heat you have stronger, distinctive flavors, especially when using dry herbs and spices.
And nothing beats the flavor of a quick blend of the beans and adding back toward the end of cooking. I can’t remember where I learned that small trick, but it makes a world of difference.
I use pinto, kidney and black beans here.
People will say you can experiment with different beans, but let me save you the suspense. If you want to swap out the pinto beans, only swap for navy or cannellini beans. But for goodness sake keep the kidney and back beans.
On the subject of beans, I recently went through a minor (though fairly emotional) upgrade of my kitchen. When it came to the humble can opener, it’s amazing what’s changed. It always surprises me the things people will think of!
This chili will warm your cockles and soothe your heart, as my aunt used to say. An absolute crowd pleaser and lovely heated up to have with toast for lunch the next day.
I usually finish this off with my favorite for any chili – a green salad with avocado and balsamic. Enjoy!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 large red onion thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 2 red peppers roughly chopped
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp dry oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 800 g can chopped tomatoes
- 400 g red kidney beans
- 400 g black beans
- 400 g pinto beans
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 300 ml vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or 2tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped
- Extra chopped coriander
- A squeeze of lime juice
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat
Saute onion, garlic, celery and carrots and peppers for up 10 minutes until softened, with onion translucent and sweet.
Add the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and stir until the spices have combined and mixed in.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes, drained and rinsed beans, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar or vegan Worcestershire sauce, and vegetable stock.
Simmer for 25 minutes.
This part is optional, but makes a huge difference to flavor. Take 2 cups of the softened chili after 15 minutes, blend, and add back to pan.
Dish into bowls and serve with a leafy salad or crusty bread (avocado salad is my favorite with chili).