Eenie Meenie… Chili Beanie!

I couldn’t choose just one recipe, so I combined elements of several.  This has distinctive southwest flavor and heat, by far the best chili I’ve made yet.  I did not measure anything very carefully, but this is the general outline – adjust it to your own liking!

Into a large crock pot, dump:
3-4 Cups Dry Beans – I used Navy and Pinto.  Black beans would also be great.
6 cups water (or half water and half beer – don’t use the good stuff!)
1 (8 oz) can tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
3 or more stalks celery, chopped
1 Tbsp Cumin  – to taste
1 Tbsp Chili Powder – to taste- I used New Mexico, which is fairly mild
1-2 Tbsp Blackstrap Molasses – to taste.  This adds a nice flavor and reduces the acidity of the spicy ingredients a little.
Fresh chopped cilantro (Like it a lot? Use a lot. Don’t like it? Leave it out)

In a large skillet, saute the following:
A little oil
2 Shallots, chopped
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
Chili Peppers, chopped, to taste.  I had 3 small red chilis from this year’s garden, still hanging around.  Hot little devils they were though!
5-6 Tomatoes, peeled and chopped. I had 6 of this year’s tomatoes from the garden, frozen

Add the spices and cook a bit longer (don’t let them burn):
1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Chili Powder

To the skillet of goodies, add, mix, and simmer on low heat until water is evaporated (or mostly evaporated):
2 Cups dry TVP
1.5 Cups water
2-3 Tbsp Soy sauce (to taste)

Add contents of the skillet to contents of the crock pot and simmer on low until the beans are tender.  The length of time for this will depend on whether or not you pre-soaked/pre-cooked the beans.  If you’re in a hurry, you can use canned beans, but you may want to reduce the amount of soy sauce you use, if you are concerned about sodium.

Serving suggestion – I made Chili Sweet Potato Fries – Yum!!!