Dave's Bacon and Bean Chilli

A wonderful winter weekend meal when you have a little time for the fiddly bits during the day. Or soak the beans in the morning, and cook during the late evening, to serve the next day.

Quantity Ingredient
3/4 cup Black Turtle Beans
3/4 cup Baby Lima Beans (These have been hard to come by of late. Use haricot beans if you can't get baby limas.)
400 g (approx) Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
500 g Chopped Onion
5 cloves Garlic, chopped
800 - 900g Bacon Bones (Should be about 400 g of bones left after meat has been removed.)
1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
40 ml Olive Oil
To Taste Chilli or chilli powder.
  1. Soak turtle beans and lima beans separately in water to cover plus 3 cm, for approx 6 hours.
  2. Place beans in two medium saucepans, with soaking water and top up with water to cover plus 2cm. If you combine the beans at this stage the white ones will wind up purple and spoil some of the visual effect of the contrasting black and white beans.
  3. Divide bacon bones between the two saucepans and cook for an hour, or until beans are soft enough to mash with the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Turtle beans take slightly longer, as a rule
  4. Drain, and reserve cooking water. Remove meat from the bacon bones and return meat to beans.
  5. In a large heavy base saucepan, fry onion until translucent in the olive oil, add garlic, then tomato, and tomato paste. If you use fresh tomatoes, dip them briefly in boiling water and remove skins before adding them to the saucepan.
  6. Add chilli and black pepper. I use a third of a green manzano or a quarter of a ripe one for a nice zing that most people can accommodate. Jalapeno is another good chilli if you are adding it fresh. Otherwise use quantities of chilli powder determined by your taste and your knowledge of the heat of local supplies. (I also use a chilli powder occasionally from the local Asian grocery shop that gives plenty of heat for a meal for four from a quarter teaspoonful. An American, accustomed to measuring his chilli-oregano blends by the dessertspoon or tablespoon would not know what hit him if he used this stuff with the same freedom.)
  7. Turn the heat right down, add the beans and bacon, add reserved bacon and bean water to just below level of solids, and leave to simmer for a half hour or so. Test for chilli heat and add a little more if you're feeling venturesome. Remember that chilli is often cumulative in heat the more that you eat. Start cautiously.



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