Spiced Chili with Many Beans and Some Greens

SERVES: 6

Any combination of ground meat and canned bean/legume will work here so keep it flex and use it what you have on hand. Harissa paste can vary greatly in spiciness so if you’re a first time caller, taste it before adding, and start with 3 tablespoons. You can always stir more in at the end to achieve desired heat level.

Active Time: 1 hr

Total Time: 3 hrs

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Produce

  • 2 large red onions
  • 3” ginger
  • 1 head garlic

Pantry

  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons dried mint
  • ¼ cup harissa paste or more to taste
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 15 ounce can cherry tomatoes in liquid
  • 3 15 ounce cans mixed beans/legumes (chickpeas, black eyed peas, cannellini etc)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 cups chicken stock, beef stock, or water
  • Kosher salt

Dairy

  • Whole milk yogurt, for serving

Protein

  • 2 pounds ground beef/lamb/and or veal
  • 1 10 ounce package chopped frozen spinach

Frozen

1. Do some prep:

  • Coarsely chop 1 ½ large red onions. Set the remaining ½ onion aside for garnish later on.
  • Coarsely chop a 3” piece of ginger, don’t go too crazy, we're just breaking it down into smaller pieces so we can throw them in the food processor. Smash and peel the cloves of one whole head of garlic.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the onions until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. No need to wipe out the food processor.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and pulse to chop. Transfer to a separate bowl. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, you can hand chop all of the veggies–dice the onions and finely chop the garlic and ginger).
  • In a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (or by hand) coarsely crush or grind 1 tablespoon coriander seed, and 1 tablespoon cumin seeds.
  • Crack open 3 cans of whatever beans you’re using, drain and rinse through a fine sieve. Set aside for now.

2. Build the chili:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Portion 2 pounds of ground beef, lamb, and/or veal into roughly shaped 4” shaggy balls. Add the meat to the pot, season all over very well with salt, and cook, turning every 2-3 minutes, until browned all over, 8-10 minutes total. Transfer balls to a plate.
  • Add the blitzed onions to the pot, along with a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions sweat out all of their liquid and just begin to stick to the pot, 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, ground coriander, ground cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 2 tablespoons dried mint, ¼ cup harissa paste. Cook, stirring, just until very fragrant, and the harissa begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, and stir to scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Return the balls of meat and any of their juices to the pot and use a potato masher or wooden spoon to break the meat up into small, bite sized pieces.
  • Stir in 1 15 ounce can cherry tomatoes and their liquid, the rinsed beans, 10 ounces thawed frozen spinach, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 3 cups of water and a few BIG pinches of salt.
  • Bring the stew to a simmer, cover with a lid leaving it slightly ajar. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook, checking on it periodically, to stir the pot and be sure it’s not boiling too rapidly, at least 90 minutes and up to 3 hours. At his point the meat should be very tender, and the stew thick and flavorful. If it looks dry or overly reduced, add a few splashes of water.
  • Taste and asses for salt and spiciness–if it needs more heat, add another couple tablespoons harissa paste.
  • While the stew cooks, prep the garnishes:
  • Thinly slice the remaining onion. Place in a small bowl, season with salt and barley cover with apple cider vinegar. Toss the onions to combine and let sit to pickle until serving.
  • In a small saucepan or skillet, combine 3 tablespoons dried mint, and ⅓ cup olive oil. Cook over medium low, until sizzling gently at the edges, about 90 seconds. Remove from heat.

3. Serve:

  • Divide among bowls and serve the chili with a big dollop of yogurt, a pile of pickled onions and a drizzle of sizzled mint oil.