It’s Bean Day, also National Shortbread Day (are you kidding?? In JANUARY???).  The problem is, I’m from Alberta.  And despite everything I’ve told you, about shameless bacon eaters and the like, I believe that beans are best served as baked beans.  With pork.  You heard me.

You know how I feel about pork, you shameless bacon eaters.  I think it’s disgusting.  But, but, I understand the porky allure of baked beans.  Just can’t eat ‘em.

I was sitting in a pub tonight, watching the tragic World Juniors 2010 game between Canada and U.S.

You know if I say “tragic,” we didn’t win.

* sigh*

I even wore my Team Canada jersey.

* sigh *

Jim says we (Canada) played a better game than the U.S.  Hint to husbands, boyfriends, and sports fans everywhere.  If I put on the jersey, leave work early, and meet you at the pub, do not, do not talk down to me, tell me how it is, use a condescending tone, or otherwise make me feel unworthy when I venture a comment about the game.  I may very well wipe the floor with your face.

Discuss

Nonetheless, Della was there too, and I proposed to her my idea that beans are best baked with pork.  And she said, “well, actually, with fat.”  And I was all, “hmmm, but really rich fat, so, like, chicken fat wouldn’t do.”  And then it dawned on me.

Duck fat baked beans. OH. MY. GOD.

Della has leftover duck fat from Champagne, Duck and Oyster day.  She has also taken this as a throwdown, and has resolved to prove to me that baked beans do not require pork to be tasty.

Me?  I’m all in.  Bring it on (please?)

In the meantime, for your dining pleasure:

“White” Navy Bean and Chicken Chili

  • 1 ½ C dried navy beans
  • 1 lb extra-lean ground chicken
  • 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & grated
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp (hot) smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 C chicken stock (approx)
  • 1 tsp dried epazote or oregano
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 28-oz can tomatillos, drained & chopped
  • ⅓ C pickled jalapenos, diced
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, finely diced
  • cheddar, green onions, cilantro, lime wedges, Liberty yoghurt
  1. In a medium pot, cover the navy beans with 4 C cold water and bring to boil over high heat.  Remove from heat immediately, cover, and set aside for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic.  Sauté until the onions are translucent, then add the ground chicken, stirring rapidly to break it apart.

    Add the smoked paprika

  3. Season with smoked paprika and salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned.
  4. Deglaze with 1/2 C of the chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up all of those delicious browned bits on the bottom.  Pour into a slow cooker or a large stock pot.
  5. Drain the beans, and add them to the chicken.  Add enough chicken stock to cover the beans (approximately1 ½ cups more).  Add the epazote or oregano, coriander and cumin.
  6. I suggest using a slow cooker for this part; then you can just walk away.  If using a slow cooker, cook on high heat 2-3 hours or until beans are softened.  A stock pot will also work just fine; you just have to stir from time to time: cook on medium-low 1-2 hours or until beans are softened.
  7. Only when beans are the correct consistency, add tomatillos, pickled jalapenos and diced peppers.  Cook another 1-1 ½ hours or until thickened. (Here’s the deal: dried beans have much more texture than canned.  They should have a firm “bite”, without being crunchy. One step more than al dente. Here’s another deal: do not add anything acidy, like vinegar, molasses, lime juice, etc., OR salt, until the beans are cooked.  If you add acid or salt, the beans won’t soften. This means you can cook them for days and they’ll still be crunchy.  Uck. I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation for this, isn’t there Janelle?)
  8. Serve with shredded cheddar, green onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and Liberty yoghurt, if desired.

If you can't find tomatillos, use tomatoes. Tomatillos are tangy-er but really, it's all about the simmer (just don't add them too soon)!

No duck fat, but tasty nonetheless.  Jim and I had chili for dinner, then for lunch the next day.  I served it with a yummy beer oat bread (good use of leftover beer from book club “beer tasting” night).

xx Eva

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