One of the first cookbooks I ever bought was the El Paso Chile Company’s Texas Border Cookbook. I’ve been working on my own versions of two recipes from that book – one for guacamole, the other for chili.
Here’s my go-to chili recipe that is super thick, filling and hearty: great for a crowd and leftovers. I serve it with a bunch of toppings and let each person do it up their own way.
I used to use canned beans, but have learned to soak them overnight for a more authentic, non-mushy al dente texture, and one that’s better for you overall. Un-soaked and un-germinated beans can irritate the digestive tract, leading to a variety of gut-related health conditions. And since we want to take care of our guts, soaking beans overnight or for just 12 hours is no big deal.
As Jacqueline at deeprootsathome.com puts it: “I love Mexican food but have learned to avoid Mexican restaurants for this reason. They don’t soak their beans before cooking them! Those ‘anti-nutrients’ such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are going to be in your gut causing gas and whatever other digestive issues happen when you eat something that isn’t particularly digestible. Pretty much defeats the purpose of trying to eat healthy!” Well said.
Soaking beans with an acid medium (vinegar, yogurt or lemon juice) helps to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors (phytates), making them more digestible and nutrient-dense. Soaking them in warm water makes them swell and begin the slow process of sprouting which makes the nutrients available.
Makes 3.5 quarts, serves 12.