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anasazi beans

Last month my dad was in Colorado visiting friends and shopping for beans. OK, not exactly shopping for beans, but he had offered to pick up some anasazi beans for my cousin, Dennice, and some pinto beans for a friend of his. Dennice was thinking he’d get her a pound or two of beans, but in my dad’s usual style, he brought home a 10-pound bag. Really, who needs 10-pounds of dried beans?  I offered to take three pounds off her hands, at $1.20 a pound, they were a steal. If you haven’t seen anasazi beans before, they are pretty cool looking, but honestly, they taste about the same as a kidney bean, and once cooked, they lose most of their good looks. Plus they are a lot more expensive than plain-Jane kidney beans as you can see from THIS LINK on Amazon.  Anasazi beans have been available commercially only since 1983, check out THIS LINK to learn more about them… and just about every other bean you might be even remotely interested in. So, feel free to substitute kidney beans in this recipe. And if you don’t want to go to the time (overnight soaking) and trouble of starting with dried beans, use three 15-ounce cans of kidney or pinto beans, drained and reserving the liquid. You’ll be adding that liquid (or the cooking liquid from the dried beans) to the chili. If you don’t have a full 3 cups of liquid to add, supplement with either tap water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth.

The thing that makes this chili special is the blend of three pure chile powders; California, ancho, and chipotle. Do me a favor – go pull out the jar or can of McCormick or Shilling chili powder you have in your spice cabinet. Now look at the ingredients; it probably reads something like this – Ingredients: chili peppers, cumin, oregano, salt, garlic, and silicon dioxide. That’s right, plain chili powder is more than just plain. So buy a selection of pure chile powders and you will be able to control the season of things you use chile powder in. If you want to kick it up a bit, add more chipotle chile powder, to taste. Most grocery stores now carry all three of these chile powders, and you can always find them at Cost Plus World Market.

Anasazi, Turkey, and Three-Chile Powder Chili

2 cups dried Anasazi beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 red and/or yellow bell peppers, roasted, peeled, cored, and chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds ground turkey
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon California chile powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
3 cups cooking liquid from beans (supplement with water or broth, if needed to make 3 full cups)
Shredded cheddar and/or pepper Jack cheese, garnish
Sour cream, garnish

Sort the beans to remove small stones, lumps of dirt, and defective beans. Wash the beans with several changes of cold water. Place beans in a large pot and cover with at least 3-inches of cold water. Soak overnight.

Discard soaking water, rinse beans and replace with fresh cold water and bring to a boil, immediately reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook until tender, about 90 minutes to 2 hours, adding water if necessary to keep beans covered. Place a colander over a bowl and drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Set aside beans and cooking liquid separately.

Heat a heavy large pot over high heat, add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent about 8 minutes. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink, breaking up large pieces with a spatula, about 5 minutes.

Mix in chile powders, cumin, and oregano and stir for 1 minute. Add beans, tomatoes with juices, and 3 cups of the cooking liquid (or the reserved liquid from canned beans). Bring chili to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until chili thickens, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with cheese and sour cream.

Serves 8

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1 comment

1 Debbie Elder { 10.09.11 at 2:02 PM }

Oh, funny, I have some of these soaking right now BEFORE I read your blog. We’ve on the same wavelength today Linda!

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