Sunday, January 1, 2012

Five Fist Chili

It's funny how the simplest tasks can become so over-complicated through good intention.

The Good Apple loves chili. As I have cooked various versions over the years (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, white, lowfat, high fat, sweet, name it), I found it odd that something so simple, that was made "on the range", became so complicated. It was time to simplify.

We are reducing our use of canned items, so that would be first. No canned beans, only dried. I tend to like a variety of beans to make it pretty and keep everyone happy.

I can't wait around all day and work on this dish this dish for hours...crock pot.

GA loves beef. Grass-fed island ground beef it is.

Tomatoes - diced, canned, BPA-free. Eden Hills or Muir Glen.

Onion - yes.

Spices. We like a little heat and a lot of flavor. I thought about sautéing some jalepenos, but then I was back to over-complicating things, so I landed on the power three: Chili powder, Cumin, and Cayenne. And THIS is where it gets fun. Take those three and mix 'em up. Five fistfuls of spice, that is all it takes. At first, I was apprehensive about not having an precise measurement, but then I started playing with these three and the fear dissolved. They each pack their own punch into the recipe and I have my favorite combo. Now it is time for you to discover yours!


  • 1 lb of grass-fed beef
  • 1 small onions, diced
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes (BPA free cans)
  • 1 cup of dried red kidney beans
  • 1 cup of dried black beans
  • 1 cup of dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups (1 box) of organic chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 5 fistfuls of spice (chili powder, cumin and cayenne)

I use 2 moderate fists of cumin, 2 moderate fists of chili powder and a delicate fist of cayenne to keep the heat appropriate for the kids.


Brown beef in skillet and remove into a bowl. Add onion to skillet and sauté briefly, 2 minutes max. Remove the onions from the skillet and place in bowl with beef.

Place beans in a large bowl and rinse and sort.

Place everything in the crock pot: broth, tomatoes, spices, beef & onions, beans. Give the mixture 1-2 good mixes. I found if you put the beans in first, they will stick.

Put your crock pot on high. Now I know it is the Golden Rule never to open your crockpot once you have started; however, to keep those beans moving, I suggest stirring once an hour to hour and a half. Watch your liquid. No liquid and the beans will burn and you will ruin your chili. Cook for 4 hours, if you need to, you can go 8 on low and you won't have to worry about burning as much.

Suggested toppings:
Sour cream
Cheddar Cheese
Ritz crackers (The GA's favorite, not what I give the kids -ha!)

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  1. Love this. Simple. Something I can do in the morning then I don't have to worry about it. Have never tried dried beans in chili before. I may just have to keep it to canned, at least for now!

  2. I do not cook chili very often and when I do, it has always been canned beans! It is great that you are using dried beans!
    Happy New Year and wish you a wonderful 2012!!

  3. Sounds yummy - I love chilli! (Just wish it were a little cooler here so I could make it more often:)
    Thanks for sharing,
    Kristina :)

  4. The amazing thing about using dried beans is it is just so easy, less expensive and no BPA cans. Just add more liquid and those beans suck up all the flavors in the pot!

  5. Val,
    Our family loves chili but I've never thought about using dried beans! I use 3 different kinds of canned beans. I'm going to give your recipe a try. It sounds great!
    Congrats on being a Featured Member of voiceBoks!

  6. YUM! Congrats on vB featured member status!

  7. My father is always the one who makes chili. Over the years, I have learned the recipe but have never made it myself. Michaela has never even wanted to try it, so it's usually a meal I ask my father to make for the 'men' in the house LOL. I do like the idea of using fresh beans instead of canned. This past summer, I started storing beans for just that purpose. Great idea!


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