The perfect side dish for your Super Bowl shindig
Here in the US, we’re starting to plan Super Bowl parties. Down under, folks are finalizing plans for Australia Day barbecues. And most of us know what we’ll be serving for the main course. But, hey, party feasts are all about those sides.
So if you’re looking for a flavorful dish that will complement a wide variety of foods, you won’t go wrong with spicy Green Chile Chili Beans. We love to serve these beans with BBQ Spare Ribs or BBQ Pulled Pork. They can even be a meal in themselves—just add a slice of cornbread, and you’re all set.
Best of all, these chili beans are cooked with bacon. Enough said.
Chili beans are just beans cooked in a chili-style sauce. Pinto or kidney beans are traditional, but any bean will work. Add some green chilies to the mix, and you take the flavor up a notch or two. You can make this dish with dried beans or canned. The dried have somewhat better flavor and texture, but the canned will save you time.
Many recipes for chili beans use only dried red chilies. And they’re wonderful that way. So if you want to go that route, we tell you how in the Notes. But green chilies and beans play so well together that we prefer them when we make this dish.
Green chilies are just juvenile red chilies. They range in spiciness from fiery to very mild. You can use almost any green chile in this dish: Anaheims, poblanos, chilacas, Californian, New Mexican. Or a combo of different chilies (you can even use canned green chilies). For this recipe, we use a mix of New Mexico Hatch green chilies, then throw in a few jalapeños to spice things up. See Notes for more info.
Typically when you cook with green chilies, you roast them first (to concentrate their flavor), then peel them. For this recipe, you can roast or not, as you choose. For instructions on roasting and peeling, see the Procedure in our Pulled Pork Green Chile Chili recipe. BTW, although you also can roast and peel jalapeño peppers, we never bother.
Prep time for this dish is 30 to 45 minutes (depending of whether you're roasting chilies). Cooking time adds another 3 hours or so (closer to one hour if using canned beans), most of it unattended.
This recipe produces enough chili beans for a crowd; leftovers freeze well.
- 1 pound dried beans, preferably pinto or kidney (or substitute three to four 15-ounce cans of cooked beans—see Notes)
- 1 medium onion (to add to the beans when cooking them; optional)
- ½ pound bacon
- ~2 cups additional onions, chopped (about 3 medium onions; exact quantity not critical)
- 2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste)
- ~10 ounces green chilies, preferably roasted and peeled (see Headnote; or substitute canned green chilies—see Notes)
- 2 to 4 jalapeño pepper chilies
- ~½ teaspoon Kosher salt for seasoning the onions (see Notes)
- ~2 teaspoons dried powdered cumin
- ~1 teaspoon dried coriander
- ~1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 to 2 tablespoons dried ancho chile powder (to taste; see Notes for substitutions)
- 1 six-ounce can tomato paste
- additional Kosher salt, if needed (to taste)
- garnish of jalapeño pepper slices (optional)
- If using dried beans: Sort through the beans, removing any grit or stones. Place the beans in a 4-quart cooking pot and cover with water by 4 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then boil uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove the cooking pot from heat, cover it, and let the beans sit for an hour or longer.
- After an hour, drain the beans. Return them to the cooking pot. If using an onion to flavor the beans, peel it and cut it in half through the poles. Add the onion to the cooking pot. Add enough water to the beans to cover them by an inch, then bring to a simmer on the stovetop. Skim to remove any scum that might surface, then cook the beans at the barest simmer for an hour. Add more water to the pot if necessary—you want to keep the beans just covered.
- Shortly before the hour mark, slice the bacon into pieces of an inch or smaller. Add the bacon pieces to a large, cold frying pan, and place on medium stovetop heat. Sauté the bacon until crisp (10 minutes or so), then remove it with a slotted spoon and allow it to drain on paper towels. Leave the bacon drippings in the pan.
- While the bacon is browning, peel the additional onions and cut them into dice of ½ inch or so; set the diced onion aside. Peel the garlic cloves and mince or slice them thinly; set the minced garlic aside.
- If you’re using roasted green chile peppers that have been peeled and seeded: Chop them into pieces of ½ inch and set aside. If using unroasted green chile peppers: Wash the peppers, cut off their stems, then cut each pepper lengthwise. Using a teaspoon or soup spoon, scoop out the seeds (be careful, the oil on these can be hot; keep fingers away from your eyes). Cut the peppers into dice of ½ inch or so, and set aside.
- Wash the jalapeño peppers, cut off their stems, then cut each pepper lengthwise. Using a teaspoon or soup spoon, scoop out the seeds (the oil from the seeds will definitely be hot; keep fingers away from your eyes). Mince the jalapeño peppers finely (reserving a slice or two of pepper for garnish, if you wish), then set aside. Now, wash your hands with soap and water to remove the hot jalapeño oil from your skin.
- Add the diced onion to the hot bacon fat that you’ve left in the frying pan. Add salt to season, and sauté the onions until they’re translucent (5 minutes or so).
- When the onions are translucent, add the minced garlic and the diced peppers (both green chile and jalapeño peppers) to the frying pan. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the cumin, coriander, oregano, and ancho chile powder to the frying pan, then sauté for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Now you’re ready to add the sautéd onion/chile pepper mixture and the bacon pieces to the beans. But before you do, however, fish out the onion you added in Step 2—its flavor is spent. After adding the onion/chile mixture and bacon to the beans, stir everything to combine. Add a bit of water if necessary to thin the bean mixture. Simmer the mixture for 30 to 45 minutes (until the beans are nice and soft).
- Taste, add salt if needed, and serve. Garnish with reserved jalapeño pepper slices, if you wish.
- Although bacon adds wonderful flavor, you can omit it if you want a vegan dish. In that case, use olive oil to sauté the onions in Step 7.
- If using canned beans, skip Steps 1 and 2. Instead: Drain the beans and rinse off the gunk they’re packed in. Add the beans to a 4-quart cooking pot and bring it to a simmer over medium stovetop heat. Then proceed with Step 3 of the Procedure.
- How many green chilies should you use? It depends on how spicy you like your food—and how hot the chilies are (green chilies range from mild to fiery). If you’re unsure of their heat level, you might want to take a tiny bite of a chile to see how hot it is.
- If you’re averse to chile heat, use a mild variety of chile. Anaheim chilies are quite mild, and they’re available at every supermarket. Poblanos (which have a bit more heat) also are widely available.
- In our opinion, Hatch green chilies offer the best flavor. They get their name from the city of Hatch, New Mexico—where they're grown. Fresh Hatch chilies are available only in late summer, but you can buy them frozen in some supermarkets, and from many mail-order sources (Google is your friend here).
- Disclosure: The Hatch chilies we used in this recipe came from the Hatch Chile Store. We almost never accept freebies, but Hatch chilies are something we’ve used and loved for years, so we couldn’t resist their offer of a complimentary 5-pound box of roasted and peeled frozen chilies.
- Canned green chilies work fine in this recipe. You can generally find canned chilies in the Mexican food section at your supermarket. The cans come in various sizes, though 4-ounce containers are very common. Canned chilies tend to have very little heat, so we suggest starting with at least 8 ounces. After the beans have cooked for a bit, you can taste them to gauge the heat level. If the flavor isn’t bold enough for you, add some more canned green chilies. Or add some hot sauce, or more ancho chile powder.
- A reminder on terminology: Chile powder is made from dried red chilies that are ground up. Chili powder is a combination of chile powder plus cumin, coriander, and other spices.
- We suggest using ancho chile powder in this dish because it’s fairly mild, and its flavor marries well with green chile peppers. If you want something bolder, try dried chipotle chile powder.
- If your supermarket doesn’t carry chile powders, you can substitute commercial chili powder. But remember, it contains cumin and coriander, which are also listed as ingredients in this dish—so you may want to reduce the quantity of cumin and coriander that you add.
- As we said in the recipe headnote, this dish traditionally is made with red chilies. If you don’t want to use green chilies in this dish, simply leave them out and double the amount of chile (or chili) powder you use.
- But if you go this route, we suggest you keep the jalapeños—they really add a nice zing.
- Kosher salt is more coarse than regular table salt, so it’s less salty by volume. If you’re substituting table salt for Kosher, always use less—start with about half as much. You can always add more later.
- Be ready to add water when making this dish. When cooking the beans (Steps 1 and 2), you’ll need to make sure they don’t dry out; so check on the beans a couple times and make sure they’re just barely covered with water. In Step 10, you may need to add water if the mixture seems particularly thick. The amount you use here is very much to taste; add more if you like soupy beans.
- Australia Day—January 26th—is the official national day of Australia (similar in significance to July 4th in the US). It was on this day in 1788 that British naval ships arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales, to establish a colony.
- The Super Bowl game is played on February 1st this year. It determines which team is the champion of the National Football League in the US.
“Wow, the Green Chile Chili Beans are wonderful!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This recipe is really on the bean.”
“Definitely worth more than a hill of beans,” I said.
“And chili beans will go great with the dish we’re going to post next week,” said Mrs K R. “Shall we spill the beans about that?”
“Why not?” I said. “We’re doing Oven Slow-Cooked BBQ Beef Brisket. Which will be perfect for a Super Bowl bash.”
“That’s a truly delectable dish,” said Mrs K R. “Have to admit you do know beans about barbecue.”
“So I’m not full of beans?” I said.
“Well, not entirely,” said Mrs K R. “You’ve probably left some room for brisket.”
You may also enjoy reading about:
Oven Slow-Cooked BBQ Beef Brisket
Green Chile Stew with Pork
Pulled Pork and Green Chile Chili
Oven Slow-Cooked BBQ Pulled Pork
Oven Slow-Cooked BBQ Spare Ribs
Skillet Jalapeño Cornbread
Meat and Potatoes Chili
Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans
Chunky Pork and Sweet Potato Chili
Or check out the index for more recipes