Three-Bean Chili

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Three-Bean Chili

Three-Bean Chili

This rib-sticking bean chili is richly flavored with cumin, chili, paprika, oregano and an assortment of peppers. Use whatever beans you have in your pantry. Make it a meal: Bake up a batch of Salsa Cornbread while the chili simmers.

Serves 8

Prep Time 45 min

Total Time 210 min.


  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound beef round, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, (not packed in oil), snipped into small pieces
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed, snipped into thin strips (optional; see Note)
  • 12 ounces dark beer, such as porter or stout
  • 1 28-ounce c plum tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 tablespoon grated unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 19-ounce c kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 19-ounce c white beans, such as Great Northern, rinsed
  • 1 19-ounce c black beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Nonfat plain yogurt, chopped scallion greens and s, for garnish

Cooking Directions

Step 1

Toast cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder; grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl; add chili powder, paprika, oregano and cayenne. Stir to combine; set aside.

Step 2

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil in a large heavy pot over high heat. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and sauté until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Step 3

Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add onions and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions have softened and are golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeños, sun-dried tomatoes, anchos chiles (if using), and the reserved spice mixture. Stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add beer, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, scraping up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes and their juices, chocolate, sugar, bay leaves and the browned beef. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Step 4

Add kidney beans, white beans and black beans and cook until the chili is thick, 30 to 45 minutes more. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in cilantro, if using, and lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garnishes.