Cacao Chilli Beans with Corn Tortillas

20 April 2014
Written by Nicola Galloway | Images by Nicola Galloway
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Adding a little something extra to her spicy beans, Nicola Galloway serves up a quick and easy tasty treat of cacao chilli beans with homemade corn tortillas


Don't be confused here, chilli beans are technically not hot and spicy as the name may indicate. The word 'chilli' is more a reference to the combo of herbs and spices - oregano, paprika, and sometimes cumin and coriander. I have also added cacao, an ingredient often found in traditional Mexican moles (a spicy sauce of chillies, capsicum, nuts and chocolate). This adds a lovely depth of flavour to the chilli beans, but in no way does it taste like chocolate (sorry!). The addition of the whole cloves of garlic adds an extra sweet element to the beans. Simple squeeze out the sweet garlic flesh onto your plate and mix into the beans. As we say around here - the best beans ever!

1/2 cup dried black beans
1/2 cup dried kidney beans
OR 400g can each of black beans and kidney beans
1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 rashers bacon, chopped (optional - omit if vegetarian)
1 red capsicum, diced
1 whole bulb of garlic, separated into individual whole cloves (unpeeled)
4-5 large tomatoes, chopped
OR 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup
Salt to taste
Corn tortillas, chopped coriander (cilantro), sour cream/ soft goats cheese, lime and diced avocado to serve

If using dried beans soak in 3 times the water for 24 hours. Rinse the beans 3-4 times during this time to wash away the indigestible enzymes that cause gas and bloating. Drain the beans, place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Alternatively use a pressure cooker. Note: never add salt when cooking beans or the skins will not soften. Drain the cooked beans.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a moderate heat and sauté with the onions and bacon if using for 5 minutes. Add the capsicum, garlic, tomatoes, oregano, and paprika. Bring to a gentle simmer, cooking for 20 minutes until nice and saucy. Add the drained beans and cacao, cooking for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve with chopped coriander, sour cream (or soft goats cheese) and corn tortillas. You can also serve the chilli beans with rice, or wrap up in soft tortillas to make burritos.


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