Sunday, December 13, 2009

RECIPE: Homemade Mexican Chili Beans

When we were growing up, my mom and dad would make Pinto Beans or "Soup Beans". We ate them with Chow Chow and cornbread. So I am accustom to soaking beans overnight in preparation for cooking them the next day. Canned beans can be expensive, as much as $1.50 per can for the organic ones. When I participated in Freezer Baking Day, I wanted to try to make my own Mexican Chili Beans. Walmart brand is called Ranch Beans. The beans come flavored in a chili-tomato style sauce. After looking through myriads of recipes, I settled on one from More-With-Less Cookbook (World Community Cookbook). Of course, I totally tweaked it to our liking. Here's what I came up with:

Mexican Style Chili Beans
2 cups dried Great Northern beans $1.00
2 cups dried Pinto beans $1.00
1/4 cup olive oil $.50
1/4 cup butter $.25
2 cups very finely diced onions $.45
1 Tablespoon garlic powder $.05
2 teaspoons salt $.01
1 teaspoon ground black pepper $.01
4 Tablespoons chili powder $.40
1 Tablespoon dried oregano $.10
1 Tablespoon dried cilantro $.10
1 Tablespoon ground cumin $.10
2-6oz cans tomato paste $.30
2-8oz cans tomato sauce $.30

$4.57 for 16 cups of beans or $.28 a cup approx $.57 per 15-16 oz (a can size). You can feel good about these beans because they are healthy and have no preservatives. The price can reduce if you find some of the ingredients on sale or use coupons to get it FREE. I stocked up on the ingredients when they were on sale and really spent only $3.97 ($.24 per cup or $.50 per "can").

Soaked them in the largest bowl I could find. I ended up moving these from one bowl to the lid of my Cake Taker from Tupperware. Make sure you add plenty of water.

Glad I sorted them, check out that rock!

The next morning drain and rinse the beans and pour them into a large Dutch oven. Add 2 quarts of fresh water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes. The beans will not be cooked through, yet.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and melt butter. Add onions and saute until golden and caramelized. Add garlic powder, salt, ground black pepper, chili powder, dried oregano, dried cilantro, ground cumin.

add tomato paste, tomato sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Drain beans, but reserve the cooking liquid. Pour beans back into the pot and add the tomato mixture along with 2 cups of reserved liquid. Cook it for another 45-60 minutes.

Then divide them into quart containers and freeze. 4 cups of dried beans yielded 4 quarts of beans.

These are really really good. We used a quart and half for Taco Soup the other night and my picky eater didn't even know they were homemade! That's a victory in my book!

Try this recipe for Southwest Skillet Pie using some of the beans.


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