Winter, this is the time of year that we all long for comfort foods, hearty dishes, and belly-warming meals. Today I wanted to share a delicious three bean chili recipe. It is a store cupboard favorite that not only is hearty and warming but also uses things that you probably already have in your house.
It is a very simple and quick to make chili recipe, as well as being delicious. It makes a great lunch for the whole family. We like to have it with crisp crackers, but it is also fabulous when served with crusty rolls.
You Can Mostly Use Ingredients from the Pantry for this Three Bean Chili Recipe
With the exception of a few fresh ingredients, everything you need comes from the larder. Three kinds of beans. Meaty red kidney beans, moreish garbanzo beans, and butter beans, filled with vitamins and protein are combined with undrained whole tomatoes. I like to use peeled plum tomatoes in tomato juice.
Take Precaution When Handling Spicy Food
You will need one fresh green jalapeno chili. You want to cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and veins. These are very hot. If you can wear gloves when you are handling them, great. Otherwise, do be careful not to touch your eyes or nose as the oils in the veins and seeds can be really irritating.
Don’t know what to serve for dessert? How about a white chocolate bread pudding?
If you don’t have gloves, make sure you wash your hands really well after handling them. You will need to chop the chili into really small bits. Of course, if you aren’t afraid of heat, just chop them up with the seeds and veins. We are not overly fond of food that bites back in this house!
You will also need some chopped sweet bell peppers. I use a combination of red and green. Not only do these add up to one of your five a day, but they also add some lovely flavor and color to the finished dish. I trim them, deseed, and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Just set them aside with the jalapeno while you get everything else ready.
Prepping the Beans for This Simple Chili Recipe (and Others)
You need to drain each tin of your beans and then rinse them off with cold water and then drain them again. I have always done this when I am using canned beans such as these. It helps to remove some of the starch and sediment that can gather in the tins and freshens them up nicely.
How to Make This Three Bean Chili Recipe Step by Step
Empty your canned tomatoes into a large saucepan. Don’t bother to drain them. You will need to break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon. Try not to break them up too much. You want nice manageable chunks that will fit on a spoon when people are eating.
Once you’ve done that you can add your beans and the tomato sauce. Oh boy, my pan was too small and so I had to transfer it all to a larger pan. Make sure you use a 4-quart sized pan! Live and learn as they say!
Add your tomato sauce, chopped bell peppers, chopped jalapeno and all of the spices. A lot of the flavor comes from chili powder and ground cumin. I use a mild chili powder and a full two tablespoons of it.
A Few Words on Chili Powder
Here in the UK the chili powder is unadulterated with anything but dried chilies. It would blow your head off and you would not need as much if that is what you are using. Just play it by ear in that case.
North American chili powder is a lot milder and so do use between one and two tablespoons, depending on your taste. Other than that, you need only add salt and pepper to taste. Pop your saucepan onto the stove. Heat to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer and cover tightly.
It doesn’t take very long to cook, only about 35 to 40 minutes. I like to give it a stir a few times while it is cooking just to make sure that it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan. It’s done when the peppers are nice and tender.
At that point, you can taste and adjust the seasoning with some more salt and pepper if need be, and I like to throw in some chopped fresh cilantro, for both flavor and color.
Putting the Three Bean Chili Recipe Together
I also like to make a lightly spiced and delicious sour cream mixture to spoon on top of each serving as a tasty garnish. It is simply dairy sour cream mixed with a bit of thick and chunky salsa. You decide how spicy you want it to be. You can use a mild salsa or a hot salsa.
When you are ready to serve, the chili gets ladled into heated bowls. Top each serving with a spoon full of the sour cream sauce, some grated Jack cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro. Lunch is served!
Oh boy but this is some good. If you want, you can add a pound of extra lean ground beef or steak, well browned and drained, to it at the beginning when you are putting everything else into the pot. This is sure to satisfy those families who really like meat.
Three Bean Chili Recipe: Bottom Line
We love eating it just as it is, without any meat. It always goes down a real treat. Hearty, filling, and delicious. Your family will enjoy it because it tastes good and you will enjoy the simplicity of putting it together. It’s a no-fuss, no muss, family-friendly lunch for a cold Winter’s day! Any leftovers can be frozen, or simply reheated and enjoyed the next day.
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) butterbeans, drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
- 3 small red, orange or yellow sweet bell peppers, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
- 1 – 2 TBS Chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup of dairy sour cream
- 3 TBS chunky tomato salsa
- 4 TBS grated Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
- Chopped fresh cilantro
Pour the can of tomatoes into a large (4 QT) saucepan, without draining. Chop them up coarsely with a spoon.
Stir in all the beans, the tomato sauce, the bell peppers, the chili pepper, the chili powder, cumin, black pepper and season to taste with salt.
Stir well together and then place on the hob and heat to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Leave to simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bell peppers are tender.
When you are ready to serve combine the sour cream and salsa together in a small bowl. Ladle the chili into heated bowls and sprinkle with the Jack cheese and fresh cilantro. Pass the sour cream mixture at the table for spooning on top.
Serve hot with crackers on the side.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280
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Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.