4 Bean Chili

4 Bean Chili


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Chili is something that's good no matter what time of year or what kind of mood you are in. However as the weather gets colder here in dreary old Washington state, chili sounds even better. This recipe isn't traditional, i.e. it has beans in it, but it's still killer. Let's be honest- how many people actually prefer chili that doesn't have beans in it? I always thought that chili required beans until I started really getting into cooking and found out that traditionally it's served with meat only. Regardless, my chili always has beans in it. You can put it on anything, too; hot dogs, burgers and tater tots all get better with a spoonful of this meaty and beany goodness. The recipe is pretty straightforward. The "strange" ingredients are the beer which can be anything but I always use some sort of dark Mexican beer like Negro Modelo. The other one is the chipotles in adobo which can be found in the Spanish section of your super market. When you add this to the chili, make sure not to add too much because it is an extremely powerful and prominent item. What I recommend is putting half of what the recipe calls for in, then taste it and continue this process until you can recognize the chipotles on your palate. If you need more, just add a little more until you like it. Also, the tomato juice and corn are optional. This chili comes out pretty thick and some people prefer a thinner chili. If that's the case, then add some tomato juice. What I recommend is that you take all the other ingredients and add them first. Then add the tomato juice if you want. The corn is also good, but I only usually put it in there if I can get it fresh. The frozen and canned stuff is not that good. Hope you like it!

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Seattle, WA

Time needed

1 hour preparation + 3-4 hour cooking

Serving Size / Yield

8 servings


  • 1 lb. 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 lb. hot or mild country sausage
  • 1 Tbs. of peanut oil
  • 2 sweet onions, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow/orange pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. pepper flakes
  • Jalapenos, serranos, habaneros (all based on personal preference), diced (the more seeds you leave in the hotter if will be)
  • one 12-oz. beer (I prefer Negro Modelo)
  • two 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1-2 C. tomato juice (V8) optional
  • 3-4 chipotles in adobo, pulsed through a food processor
  • 4 cans of beans, whatever kind you like (I use kidney, pinto, black and garbanzo), drained and rinsed (or you can use dried beans, but make sure to soak them overnight)
  • 1 C. yellow corn fresh or frozen (2 ears if fresh or half a frozen bag based on preference) optional
  • 1/4 C. + 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1/4 C. New Mexico chili powder
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 Tbs. Mexican oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste

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Heat peanut oil in a large pot over medium heat then add beef, sausage, onion, peppers, garlic, hot peppers and pepper flakes.  Sauté until the meat is cooked- this will take about 10 minutes. Make sure to use a spatula so that you can break up the meat as it cooks.

Deglaze plan with the negro modelo using the spatula to get any little bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan- this should take about 5 minutes. Add the cans of the crushed tomatoes, beans, tomato juice, chipotles, beans and corn, then stir thoroughly. Then add the tomato paste until you get the consistency you desire. Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the chili powders, cumin, and oregano and stir. Season with salt and pepper and taste it to make sure it tastes how you like it. If it’s not chili tasting enough, add more chili powder.  If all the flavors are mild, add more salt. If it’s not hot enough, add some cayenne pepper. If you can't taste the cumin, add a little more. Bring to a simmer for 1–4 hours. Serve in a bowl with shredded cheddar, a dollop of sour cream, and minced onions. Enjoy!

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