Best Bean and Beef Chili

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you will not dirty this many dishes…promise.

I’m not an overly huggy person.  I like my personal space and one of the surest ways to press my buttons is to breach that airspace without clearance from the tower.  I’ve had a relationship fail because the other person was too damn grabby with the hands all the time.  Ok, in all fairness that wasn’t the only reason the relationship failed.  There was a massive amount of emotional clingyness in addition to the need to be physically touching me every waking moment.  Just thinking about it now, years and years later, makes me tense up.

Then again, I’ve also been told by another past boyfriend that I “run hot and cold”.  At the time I brushed that comment off completely.  It’s only been in the last few years or so that it percolated up through the recesses of my mind and bobbed along the surface in moment of clarity.  And I finally get what he meant.  He meant the prickliness that surrounds me like a force field, that has always just been part of who I am.

It takes a while to unpack this emotional baggage, so I’ll abbreviate the story.  Assume that I have a hard time trusting people.  Imagine that my default setting rests firmly on “I will trust you and then you will let me down”.  After the ability to trust another person has been eroded, the willingness and desire to open up and be vulnerable to someone is replaced with the instinct to hurt them before they can hurt me.  So yes, I can see a clear pattern of pushing people away while at the same time trying to pull them closer.  And it is no surprise that after being pushed away again and again, people get fed up and move on…so the cycle viciously feeds and sustains itself.  Talk about exhausting.

Here’s the thing I have to keep reminding myself…we’re all broken in some way.  We all have a heavy piece of emotional baggage we’ve been shouldering for too long.  But we can choose to hold on to it longer or just let it go….or at least not to hold on to it so tightly.

And that’s where I am.  I’m trying to open up more of my physical and emotional personal space.  So when The Mistah suggests that I need a hug, I try to listen to that voice inside me that says “yes I do”.  Taking a chance to trust can feel good, as good as when The Mistah gets out of the shower and wraps me in a first-thing-in-the-morning-because-I’m-already-in-a-stabby-mood hug.  It’s like being hugged by the sun.

Best Bean and Beef Chili

Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

BAH Note: I used to be firmly anti-chili.  But I took a chance and learned that the right chili will not let me down.  This is a chili I learned to love.  The beef.  The beans.  The way a dollop of sour cream sublimely tempers the heat of the spice.

Be patient if this takes longer than you think it should to get the beans and tomatoes smoothish in the food processor.  And trust me when I say that as gross as it looks in your food processor, it will do wonderful things after it cooks….I will not let you down on this.

  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can  (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • agave nectar, approximately 2 tablespoons

Puree half of the beans with the diced tomatoes in a food processor until the mixture is fairly smooth.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil.  Add the chopped onion and cook over a medium flame  until the onion is softened and translucent.  Add the ground beef to the pot and cook until it is no longer pink, breaking it up with a spoon.  Add the chili powder, cumin, and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally for about five minutes.

Add the broth, pureed mixture, rest of the beans, cinnamon sticks, and agave nectar (if using) to the pot and simmer, partially covered anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour.  Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt and additional chili powder and cumin to taste.

Fancy it up with some sour cream and shredded cheese.  Or enjoy it as is.

{printable recipe}

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3 Responses to Best Bean and Beef Chili

  1. It’s like being hugged by the sun.
    sweetest words i’ve read in awhile.

  2. I get it. I like you anyway, or maybe because.

    p.s. I was never a big chili person either, then I tried Jennifer Boyle’s recipe – super delicious. It includes a can of Guiness, cocoa powder and even a cup of strong coffee, and I don’t like coffee. Go figure.

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