On a cold day nothing is more comforting than the aroma of chili. Not only is chili a comfort food – our recipes are satisfying and easy to make – and nutritious. .
On a cold day nothing is more comforting than the aroma of chili. Not only is chili a comfort food—our recipes are satisfying and easy to make—and nutritious.
The common ingredients in most chilis are beans; tomatoes (tomatillos, plum, fresh, or canned); chilis (fresh, dried, or powdered); onions; garlic; and cumin. From that simple base, there are countless variations depending on personal taste, dietary preferences, and geographical differences.
Garnishes can go under, over, on the side … there are no rules!
All chilis can be served with one or more of the following side dishes as garnishes:
- chopped avocados
- sliced green onions
- grated cheese of your choice
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
- corn tortillas
You can also use side dishes to change the degree of spiciness (heat) in your chili. If it is hot, you can cut up some fresh bell peppers that will help bring it down a notch. Conversely, you can add jalapenos or crushed chilis if you want to increase the heat.
Beans can be substituted for one another in recipes according to preferences. It will slightly affect the flavour of the chili, but the nutritional content will remain high.
Meat can be added to or removed from chili without jeopardizing the flavours. If you use cooked meat, make sure it is added with the beans, and not at the beginning of the recipe as you would with uncooked meat.
Cooking dried beans
- The flavour of cooked dried beans always seems fresher than that of canned ones, and their texture also seems more pleasing. If a few easy steps are followed, they are easy to prepare, are cheaper than canned, and allow you to control the sodium content.
- Pick over beans to remove any foreign matter (sometimes little stones find their way into the bags), place in sieve, and rinse under cold water.
- Soak beans from 6 to 8 hours (overnight) in plenty of cold water, so the beans are covered by about 3 in (about 8 cm).
- Drain and rinse beans.
- Pour into large pot or Dutch oven and add enough water to cover the beans again by about 3 in (about 8 cm). Bring to a boil. Partially cover, turn heat down to a simmer and cook until tender, anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours. Tasting them close to the end time will ensure they are perfectly cooked.
- Drain and rinse.
- Vegetarian Chili
- Pumpkin Turkey Chili
- Red Chili with Chicken and Chocolate
- Green Chili with Portobello Mushrooms
The benefits of beans
Beans are an excellent source of fibre, providing an average of 6 g of fibre per 1/2 cup (125 mL). Both insoluble and soluble fibre are present, which may help to lower cholesterol, improve glucose control, and prevent colon cancer and diverticular disease.
Furthermore, beans generally contain no cholesterol, are low in fat, and are high in vitamins and minerals such as folate, thiamine, manganese, iron, and magnesium. They are also a good source of lean protein.
Tip: chili cooking and storage
Ideally, chili should be made one day ahead to let the flavours develop further. Chilis are usually made in large quantities, as they can be frozen for up to three months and defrosted in the refrigerator before heating.