Condiment Chili

First appeared in Grainews on 23 January 2018

This chili, made with or without meat, abets a cook’s resolution to reduce the condiment collection that clutters most fridges. Thanks to my friend Gail Norton, owner of The Cookbook Co. Cooks in Calgary, for this flexible and great way to season pulses.

chili on straw & snow

Serves 18-20

4-8 c.

dried beans (black turtle, navy, great northern, lima, pinto, kidney)

1 T.

kosher salt

2 T.

olive oil


onions, chopped


cloves garlic, chopped


bell peppers, diced


links Italian sausage, diced, or 3 lb. ground beef or pork (optional)

1 T.

cumin seed

1 T.

ground coriander

4-6 T.

chili powder

3 T.

Spanish or Hungarian sweet paprika

1 T.

dried basil

1 T.

dried oregano

1 t.

dried thyme

1 t.

cracked fennel seed

2-4 T.

Worcestershire sauce

1-28 oz.

tin canned tomatoes or tomato sauce

1-5 oz.

tin tomato paste

¼ c.

molasses, pomegranate molasses or maple syrup

1-2 T.

each of condiments (mustard, pesto, jam or jelly, barbecue sauce, syrup, flavoured honey, ketchup, chilli sauce, chutney, herb paste, marmalade, etc.)

1 T.

apple cider vinegar

hot chili flakes or cayenne to taste

salt to taste

minced parsley or cilantro for garnish

yoghurt for garnish


Cook the beans in advance without soaking: soaking strips out nutrients, but do add salt, as it helps the beans hold their shape as they cook. Put the beans in a big pot with plenty of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with a lid until tender, about 2 ½ hours; older beans may take longer and require more water. Cook until tender!

Sautee the onion, garlic and peppers in the oil. Sautee the chopped sausage or ground meat. Add the cumin, coriander, chili powder, paprika and cayenne. Add all other ingredients, including the cooked beans and any cooking liquid. Simmer until thick, stirring frequently. To serve, garnish with chopped cilantro and yoghurt.

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