Three Bean Chili with Smoked Andouille

Three Bean Chile with Smoked Andouille


Fear Conquered: Can-less Chili

"So what do you put in your chili?" It's the kind of innocent question lampooned at unsuspecting cooks everywhere. The kind of question hotly debated between relatives at summer reunions. Or between football zealots during commercial interruptions of the big game.

I, of course, am so very far above such petty pride in a list of cherished ingredients, but while we're on the topic, what do you put in your chili?

Are you one of those silly bean-phobes with their paste of spiced tomatoes and beef? Or one of those fowl-crazed meat-haters with turkey chili? Or do you go all veggie? And do you add real chile peppers or just powder? Do you use the pop and pour method with cans or the long and slow with everything fresh? Spicy or mild? White or red? Pasta? Corn? Rice? Tortillas?

Diced Tomatoes Added to Pot

And what about toppings? Just basics with sour cream and cheddar or do you go full spread with green onions, chips, jalapeños, saltines, guac, cilantro, tater tots?

And by the way, is it chili or chilli?

Before the experts from Texas and Cincinnati arrive with definitive chili truths, I'm putting a stake in the ground and approving all forms of chili (or chilli) as valid. "Yes, but REAL chili doesn't have beans!" That's nice, but some of us like beans in our chili. "And REAL chili uses must use red meat, hence the carne in chile con carne!" Uh-huh, but some of us are sick of red meat. "And you MUST add tomatoes otherwise it's not chili!" Yeah, ok then, except for white chili and green chili.

Let the experts continue their valiant fight to keep chili pure - I'll be in the cheering section for the muddled mess of infinite options chili now represents. And my chili is no less muddled. There are three types of beans, no beef, optional sausage, lots of fresh tomatoes and almost no chile powder. And then I add some non-traditional ingredients like corn, milk and black beans. But as with any good chili, the real secret isn't in the ingredients - it's in the cook time.

Spices, Corn, Water, Stock and Sausage Added to Chile

Really awesome chili needs to simmer for at least a couple hours. At least. Otherwise, it's more like a watery soup. A sad, watery soup with a lot of disparate flavors all competing for attention. So take a break from thinking about an authentic ingredient mix and start calculating cook times.

Oh. And just in case your holiday party arrives at the awkward moment when everyone is desperately searching for a cookie to relieve the excruciating silence, now you've got the perfect match to strike up a blazing conversation: "What do you put in your chili?" Look out for the explosions!


Photo Tutorial

Boiling Pot of Water
Bring 1 gallon of water to the boil.

Beans in Slow Cooker
Measure the beans and add to the insert of a slow cooker.

Spice Mix
Measure and mix together spice-mix for beans.

Boiled Water Added to Beans and Spices
Add the spice mix and boiling water to the beans.

Slow Cooker Covered
Cover the slow cooker insert and cook on the slow cooker HIGH setting for 1 hour, then cook on the LOW setting for 1 1/2 hours until navy beans are soft.

Slow Cooked Beans, Drained
Drain the beans and reserve for chili.

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil in Large Pot
To make the chili, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.

Diced Yellow Onion
Dice 2 medium yellow onions.

Softening Yellow Onions
Saute the onions for 5 minutes until softened.

Diced Red and Green Bell Peppers
Dice 1 red and 1 green bell pepper.

Softened Onions and Peppers
Saute the bell pepper for 5 minutes.

3 Garlic Cloves with Garlic Press
Mince or press 3 garlic cloves and add to the peppers and onion.

Diced Tomatoes Added to Pot
Add 2 pounds of diced Roma tomatoes. Mix thoroughly, then cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes over medium heat.

Smoked Andouille Sausage
You will need approximately 12 ounces of smoked andouille sausage.

Chopped Andouille Sausage
Dice the sausage.

2 Cups Fresh Corn Kernels
You will need 2 cups of sweet corn kernels. I recommend cutting the kernels off fresh corn cob ears if possible (approximately 2 ears of corn).

4 Cups Vegetable Stock
You will need 4 cups of vegetable stock - I use homemade.

4 Cups Water
You will need an additional 4 cups of water.

Chile Spice Mix
Measure and combine spice mix for chili.

Spices, Corn, Water, Stock and Sausage Added to Chile
Add the beans, sausage, corn, stock, water and spices to the chili.

Simmering Chile
Stir thoroughly and simmer uncovered over medium to medium-low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

1 1/2 Cups Skim Milk
Stir in 1 1/2 cups whole milk.

Chile After Reducing
Simmer the chili for at least 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Three Bean Chile with Smoked Andouille
Serve with desired toppings. I recommend sour cream and cheddar with a side of cornbread or corn muffins.


Three Bean Chili with Smoked Andouille

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 45 min
     Cook Time: 4 hrs

Ingredients (serves 8)
    Spiced Three-Beans
    • 1 gallon purified water, boiling
    • 1/2 pound dry black beans
    • 1/2 pound dry red kidney beans
    • 1/4 pound dry navy beans
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
    • 2 Tablespoons sea salt
    • 1 dried bay leaf
    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 large yellow onions, diced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1 green bell pepper, diced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, chunked
    • 4 cups homemade vegetable or chicken stock
    • Spiced Three-Beans
    • 12 ounces smoked andouille sausage, diced (optional)
    • 8 ounces (2 cups) fresh sweet corn kernels, about 2 ears of fresh corn
    • 4 cups purified water
    • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 3 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
    1. Up to 2 days in advance: Add the dry beans, seasonings and boiling water to a slow-cooker insert, stir well and cover; cook the beans on the slow-cooker HIGH setting for 1 hour, then reduce to the LOW setting and cook for another 1 1/2 hours until navy beans are soft; drain the beans and set aside
    2. During the last 90 minutes of the beans cook time: Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat; add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes; add the diced bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes
    3. Add the garlic, diced tomatoes and stock to the softened onions and peppers; cover and simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
    4. Add the spiced three-beans, optional diced sausage, corn kernels, water and spices; simmer the chili uncovered for 2 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes
    5. Add the milk to the chili and adjust seasonings; simmer for at least another hour, stirring every 15 minutes; serve with desired toppings
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    Hungry for Tips?
    • Vegetarian: It's super simple to keep this recipe vegetarian - don't add the sausage! That's it. And as much as I love the andouille with this chili, the meatless version is also delicious. If you're a spice lover, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of ground chipotle powder to compensate for the heat from the andouille.
    • Slow Cooker: If you start from scratch, between the beans and the slow simmer, chili can take a good half-day to make. So if you're pressed for time, I recommend cooking the beans a day or two in advance. If you're not going to be around, add the cooked beans and other ingredients everything to a slow cooker (except the 4 cups of added water) and walk away for 10 hours.

      CorningWare Pyroceram Slow Cooker
    • Beans: The exact type of bean you choose to use doesn't really matter. I prefer black beans and kidney beans to navy or great northern, but you could also use pinto, black-eyed peas or cannellini. I advise against soy beans and lentils (soy beans take forever to soften and lentils turn to mush quickly).

      Red & Black Beans
    • Corn: I love corn in chili because it adds a little pop of sweetness against the spicy backdrop of traditional chili flavors. So I highly recommend adding corn to your chili. And if you can find fresh corn, even better. The sweetness and texture of fresh corn is so much better than the pre-packaged frozen stuff.

      2 Cups Fresh Corn Kernels
    • Chipotle Powder: Traditional chile powder is spicy but not smoked. I prefer smokiness in my chili, so I use both smoked paprika and smokey chipotle chile powder. Most grocery stores now carry these spices (even Walmart) and they make such a difference to the final flavor.

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    1. Looks so good...

    2. Bintu @ Recipes From A PantryDecember 5, 2013 at 6:22 AM

      JW, I have spent 2 years trying to get Andouille saussage in the UK o no avail. I am desperate coz I think I would love it.

    3. Not having access to andouille, and being mainly veggie, I love using chipotle or something amazing we have here in the UK from gran luchito. I am with you with the all-inclusive thoughts on chilli/chili. It is so wide-spread that any claims to what is real or authentic or not allowed are ignored by me. Just make it homemade and be happy with whatever you concoct. Lovely recipe and super instructions as always, my friend x

    4. I do love andouille (although I didn't start experimenting with it until early this year) but I've also tried this chili with smoked chorizo - which I also love. I think just about any spicy/smokey sausage would work fine...

    5. I had never heard of gran luchito before, but very cool - that makes adding authentic smokey flavor even easier! And really, that's the most important part - I could take or leave the "meat" aspect of sausage... I'm glad you're a supporter of inclusiveness with chili and thanks for the kind words, Kellie...

    6. I do love a good chili con carne but have never made my own from scratch - using a ready made sauce does not count in my book! The little cafe down the road from where I used to live had the best chili and I'd often go there at the weekends but sadly I've moved and it's too far for me to get my chili fix. They used ground beef, tomatoes, beans and lots of spice. I like the addition of smoked andouille here as I can imagine it adds to the flavour and texture.

    7. I'm sorry you lost your chili fix, Ros! I think chili is so personal it can be tough to find that perfect bowl - just the right heat, the right texture, the right flavors, etc. I've actually never tried to make a chili with ground beef (although that is by far the most common) but I'd imagine it wouldn't be difficult to swap out sausage for beef...

    8. I love chili! Just made a batch last night, as a matter of fact. I'll make it any which way - with beans, without, with poultry, pork, whatever. Yours looks wonderful! Good job. ;-) BTW, I believe chili is the dish, and "chilli" means chile peppers to many English speakers outside the US.


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