CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Three-Bean Chili

There’s been an argument simmering over the years about whether chili should contain beans. To make a long story short, it depends on who you ask.

In Texas, there’s a saying, “If you know beans about chili, it’s that there’s no beans in chili.” In other parts of the country, particularly in the North, beans are a staple. And, of course, beans as well as peppers were common in the meat- and herb-laden chili made by the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayan Indians, long before white men arrived in the Americas.

I’m not here to offer a definitive answer to the question, only to share a recipe that does contain beans and no ground meat or chunks of beef. It’s basically vegetarian, if you look past the pork in the pork and beans, and heavy on the tomato taste and sweetness (brown sugar and honey). The chili also is loaded with onions, celery and green pepper, the holy trinity as they are known in Cajun cooking.

My secret ingredient is McCormick’s Spice Blends Santa Fe Seasoning, which gives the chili a Southwestern flavor and will make even the staunchest chili aficionados tip their Stetsons.

Three-Bean Chili
1 15-ounce can pinto beans
1 15-ounce can dark kidney beans
1 15-ounce can pork and beans
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup onion,  diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon McCormick Spice Blends Santa Fe Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour and serve.

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