This recipe is a perfect example of why I journal my recipes. When the time comes, that I am no longer living on earth, I know that my recipes will be passed down, to future generations. I feel it is important for those future generations to have the back story on each recipe. Through this recipe I am going to introduce my Aunt Patsy. Aunt Patsy has been a huge influence in my life. She is the kindest, most sincere person you'd ever meet. When someone says, "so and so would give the shirt off their back.", they are referring to my Aunt Patsy. She has given, of herself, to so many family members. She helped to raise my brothers and I when my parents were having a difficult time of doing so. She stepped in and treated, my brothers and I, as her own children. If you ever need a person in your corner, Aunt Patsy is the one to have! I remember when I was a young adult, and moved back to California, on my own. It was my Aunt who I called on for advice. My cooking style is heavily influenced by my Aunt. She cooks with a lot of soul. She understands how to season food, simply, but effectively. I am so fortunate that she helped me to build some pretty awesome recipes, that are going to stand the test of time, now and for future generations.
Chili Beans are, by far, my most requested item to bring to family gatherings. Although this is my own recipe, I must give credit to my Aunt Patsy, for teaching me how to make this dish. I am going to share some of her tips in this post.
Start by cooking ground turkey with a chopped onion. If you don't care for ground turkey, use ground beef.
Discard the fat.
It's time to blend in the spices. Two important tips I'd like to share, from my Aunt: Season the meat heavily. The seasoning will disperse when cooked with the beans, and water is added. Now is the time to spice things up! Also, 1/4 cup of chili powder may seem like a lot. It is not. After all, we are making Chili Beans. The second tip is to let the spices cook with the meat. You want the spices to cook for a couple of minutes. So, add a little water to the meat, if you notice the spices are starting to stick to the pan. Did you know that cooking the spices helps to avoid getting a stomach ache? According to my Aunt, if you were to simply throw the chili into the water, without cooking first, you could get a stomach ache. I know I am not about to chance it! Besides, doing that is bad technique.
This is the perfectly seasoned meat. It is ready to transfer to the crock pot.
Add water to the meat and beans; covering by an inch. Sometimes my Aunt will chop up leftover meats she may have on hand: pork chops, ham, steak or bacon may be added for extra flavor.
Cover and cook, on high, for several hours: adding, a little, more water as needed. Just enough water to keep the beans hydrated, but not too much to make bean soup.
When the beans thicken, season with salt. Do not season before, as the beans will break and be mushy. Our goal is soft tender whole beans, in a rich, thick chili sauce.
Whether a side dish, or the main dish, I hope you enjoy this recipe, as much as our family does.
PATSY'S CHILI BEANS
1 Pound dry pink beans, cleaned and soaked
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 White onion, diced
1 Pound ground turkey, or ground beef
1/4 Cup chili powder
2 Tablespoons Spanish paprika
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 1/2 Teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 Teaspoons kosher salt
Water to cover beans
Place cleaned beans in a crock pot; set aside. In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and ground turkey. Cook until meat has cooked through. Drain grease. Reduce heat to low. Add chili powder, paprika, garlic and pepper; blending well. Cook for a minute or two. You may need to add 1/2 a cup of water, to make sure the spices are blending and not burning. Add meat mixture to beans. Cover with water, by an inch. Cover the crock pot and cook on high for several hours; adding, a little, more water, as needed. Season with salt, after beans have softened, and a thick sauce has developed. Beans should hold their shape, and not be cracked and mushy.