- 12 lbs your choice beans (I use pinto, or a mix of kidney black bean and pinto or whatever’s on hand in the pantry) soaked overnight with plenty of water, as they triple in size. I use two ginourmous pots.
- 8 large unpeeled yellow onions, studded with cloves on each end
- 1 head of garlic,
- 8 bay leaves
- 1/3 cup ground pepper
- 2/3 cup chile powder or
- 1/3 cup cumin
- salt to taste, as they begin to soften, about 3 Tablespoons
Directions for Beans Mix
Drain the water from the soaked beans. Add fresh water to the ginourmous pot of beans to cover, about 6 gallons of water. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam that rises like huge marshmallows, for about 5 minutes or so, and then when fairly clean of foam, add seasonings divided evenly between the pots, and reduce heat to a steady simmer and cover. Cook two hours, check for tenderness, if needed allow another hour. Good fresh beans seldom take more than 2 hours to become tender.
Chile Aromatics mix
- 15 pounds onions
- 1.5 pounds garlic, chopped fine ( sold in 3 lb bag at Costco, Christopher Ranch brand peeled whole cloves, I do not use prechopped as it tends to taste rancid)
- 2/3 cup cumin (about 2, 2.5 spice packs from a Mission street bodega)
- 1 /3 cup ground coriander (1, 2.5 oz. pack)
- 2 and 2/3 cups or about 6 spice packs of your choice chile powder ( my combination is 2 mild California style, 5 New Mexico, and 2 very hot, like chipotle, depending on your mood, or palate of eaters. Our crowd tends to really like the heat.)
- 3 #10 cans diced tomatoes
Directions for Chile Spice Mix
In your last empty (our church has only three) ginourmous pot, start the onions frying on very low heat, stirring frequently to make sure they don’t scorch. After they are softened and translucent, add garlic and turn up heat to medium. Stir until you can smell the good garlic aromas. Then start opening those spice packs, and stir as you add and smell the enticing fragrances. Last open the big cans, drain the juice, and add the tomatoes, and stir. Cover and simmer on low, while you brown your meat of choice.
- 2o pounds meat of choice, (whatever is on sale). Suggestions: ground beef, or half ground beef, half bulk sausage,
- or cubed chuck roast, cubed pork shoulder, turkey thighs, boned
- Season this cubed meat with salt and pepper and then toss with masa harina, or flour for dredging– a very light coating before browning. You can skip the coating step, I only do it if I have the time, but it helps thicken the chile, and adds flavor.
Brown the meat well over medium high heat in small batches in a small deep sided pan. If you crowd the pan, you will steam the meat and miss the browned bits that add tremendous flavor. After each browned batch, spoon the beans’ cooking liquid into the pan to deglaze and loosen the yummy flavorants. Add this precious liquid to your big pot of chile aromatics mix. Put the browned meat into the 3 big stainless bowls, to make equal portions you will later add to your ginourmous pots.
When all is browned, and the beans have cooked, you can begin to divide your mixes into the separate pots. (I have found three big pots to be enough for seconds, and sending home gifts to the helpers, and the single moms among us.) Drain the beans, saving the delicious cooking liquid, into the big stainless bowls, and evenly divide the aromatics, the meat and beans into the three ginourmous separate pots. If I am running late- the meat is still browning, and the beans are not as tender as I’d want, I get at least one big pot started simmering and flavors melding, because it all should simmer on low for an hour. Stir and stir, or it will scorch!
- imabonehead: Kitchen Riffs: Chili Basics (kitchenriffs.com)