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Beans or not?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
There is a lot of discussion with foodies about whether beans should be included when making chili. What do you think?

Here's my answer:

While I realize that it may not be "traditionally correct", I usually put beans in my chili. I like beans. It, of course, depends on what kind of chili I am making for instance, if I am cooking a light, chicken chili I may not put beans in it... but I probably would use a white bean. I think beans are a great way to bulk up chili and make it heartier.

Bacon = Magical
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Bacon = Magical
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post #2 of 21
There are as many good chilis with beans as without. Same goes for tomatoes. There are no good chilis without garlic.

I like tomatoes and beans in my chili. Garlic goes without saying but I'm glad I said it.
post #3 of 21
I love kidney beans and green peppers in my chili.  There, I said it. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 21

The history of chili dates back centuries to when a Spanish Nun showed the Indians how to make a meal using spices, deer meat and chili peppers. Beans were not used in the origins of chili so some feel beans should be omitted.

 

Chili without beans and tomatoes is still good but it’s boring to me. My recipe has two kinds of beans, tomatoes, bourbon, Guinness beer, dark brown sugar and unsweetened dark chocolate. Yeah yeah yeah, I know………………….. but it’s so damn good!!!    

post #5 of 21
If you're talking competitoon chili, beans are out. The only thing you present to a judge is a cup containing meat and sauce.

That said, what you put in your own mouth is your business. If you like beans, load up on them. Spices that the early Spaniards never heard of? Go to it. It's you're dish, after all.

Beans were not used in the origins of chili so some feel beans should be omitted.

I'm not sure this is historically correct. But whether it is or isn't is irrelevent. Food history is a guide, not a straightjacket.

To be sure, there are dishes that are very specific, and their names should not be used for major variations. But generic dishes---of which chili is numbered---evolve all over the place. Chili is, after all, merely a spicy stew.

Just to put on point on this evolutionary nature of food, let's examine gazpacho, the iconic tomato soup of Spain. Until the 16th century, gazpacho was made with almonds, and was a white soup. There were no tomatoes. So, if we were to lock ourselves in to history, then red gazpacho is an inaccurate rendering of the dish.

Anybody want to go on record claiming that?

We can look at chili the same way. Let's say the story about the Spanish Nun is dead on accurate. If you object to beans on historic grounds than you also have to exclude onions, any other veggies, and any spice that was unavailable back then.

I'm as unwilling to do that as to claim that tomato gazpacho is incorrect.

Oh, yeah. My own chili most definately includes beans.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 21
My black bean and lamb chili certainly has beans in it, but that is about it.  My Texas style, or chili verde, or my chicken habanero don't have beans.  I often have beans available on the side for guests who like beans in theirs.  And Cincinnati style has beans in it, but not one of my favorite styles.  But I do like raw onions and cheese on it.

It looks like a cold and rainy day coming up here in Salt Lake, maybe a nice pot of chili will be just the thing.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #7 of 21

KYHeirloomer, you’re correct and I should have expanded on that. Some debate many different issues when it come to beans in chili. It’s also argued that the Inca’s and Mayan’s had beans in their chili dishes which is centuries before that Spanish Nun reference. There are many other arguments but my point was just to locate the only reason I have ever found why some omit beans.

 

Not talking competition here, no fillers (not just beans) are allowed in most chili comps. Many judges don’t even like to see chucks of onions or even black pepper in comp chili but the question wasn’t related to competitions.  

 

We could fill books with arguments of beans or no beans and it’s all moot IMO. Just trying to give Arron Lock a reference point as to how old and worn this path is.

post #8 of 21

When referring to chili one should see it as a vegetarian dish that can have beans in it.  Chili con carne is a chili dish with meat.

 My grandmother who was from Costa Rica and many of my latino friends will all agree to this statement.  

 In all fairness there are other versions of chilies such as texas chili which is all meat so to each his own I guess.

 One thing that seems to be the 'binding' ingredient in any version of chili is of course the chili powder.

"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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"Ye can lead a man up to the university, but ye can't make him think."

Finley Peter Dunne
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post #9 of 21
When referring to chili one should see it as a vegetarian dish that can have beans in it.  Chili con carne is a chili dish with meat.

While this is, technically, correct we don't want to overstate it. In the U.S., at least, the dish---no matter how it's made---is almost universally referred to just as chili.

They don't, for instance, call them "chili con carne" cookoffs. But the contestents certainly understand that they're making their versions with meat.

Note, too, that most celebrity chefs and cookbooks, when making a vegetarian version, go out of their way to stress that difference: "Today we're making a vegetarian chili." That's because they know that a chili made without meat would otherwise confuse most cooks.

Sometimes we can get carried away with the precision of names. F'rinstance, if you served Cincinatti style, shouldn't you call it a pasta dish, rather than chili?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 21
i dont mind the beans b ut i think the real question is with noddles or without. i personally love chili with noodles.
Chef it up errrrday!!!
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Chef it up errrrday!!!
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post #11 of 21
Yes beans in Chili, no beans in Hot dog topping chili..............Chef Bill
post #12 of 21
Yes, beans in chili, definitely. Beans add bulk, flavor and nutrients (not to mention methane gas as their aftereffect) and make the dish whole. Cincinnati chili is something else altogether -- a regional variation with acquired taste that's not for most of us.

(I do hope all of you who replied cook their own beans and not opening a can!)
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #13 of 21
My roomies and I have had this discussion countless times! I hate beans in most things (I know, blasphemous...) and chili is one of those things. They love chili with beans, however. To end the Great Debate, we looked at canned chili at a grocery store one time. I know, I know! I keep going with the blasphemy, but it was the only thing we could think of to break the stalemate.

As it turns out, the labels we checked out made notice of "with beans" as well as "without beans" and so we came to the conclusion that both ways are correct. It's just up to taste. For me, personally, I prefer chili without beans, and so I never make it with. But that being said, thanks for bringing this up! Knowing a bit more of the actual history, I can now open the debate with them again and rub it in their faces. 
post #14 of 21
skatz85......I always add noodles whenever I make a big pot of chili. Makes it.
post #15 of 21
Hello,
Typically if you want to add beans to your chili, Light or Dark Red Kidney Beans are normally used; however, to add flare to the dish, you may also add, as I do, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, or Great Northern White Beans. Add a can of each to add color, texture and of course great taste.

Hey, if you have green beans, baked beans and jelly beans on hand and you MUST make chili from what you have, then go ahead and try it. Not sure if the final product would be palatable but at least you tried! Some call real chili, chili that contains no beans at all, so that may be your best option here if that is all you have.
Thanks
post #16 of 21
I rarely see kidney beans in chili. When I do I see it as a portent of an unremarkable dish to come. They always come out of the can and that kind of shortcutting doesn't bode well for the chili.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

I rarely see kidney beans in chili. When I do I see it as a portent of an unremarkable dish to come. They always come out of the can and that kind of shortcutting doesn't bode well for the chili.
 

I see them all the time in my chili.  I love kidney beans, love love love!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #18 of 21
 I make chilli just so I can used tinned red kidney beans as I love them, I bought some black beans last week, do they have a similar taste? 

I always include coffee in my chilli and molasses.
post #19 of 21
Seaside, black turtle beans have a distinctly different flavor profile. They're more earthy tasting than kidneys. Lot's of people prefer them.

Classic uses for them include black bean soup, and Moors & Christians, among other dishes.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #20 of 21
I usually use a mix of black, small red and pinto beans in my chili. I like the color and there is a slight taste variation
post #21 of 21
 Thank you for the black bean info -  
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