Whenever Fall rolls around, I have soups and stews and chili on my mind. After our long hot desert summers, when the weather finally turns cooler I love the coziness of a warm bowl of nourishing food. Chili is always one of the first recipes to be resurrected each Autumn.
This recipe combines ground beef and white navy beans with plenty of veggies and spices. White navy beans are high in resistant starch, meaning their digestion is slower and they provide food for your beneficial gut bacteria. White navy beans are also well-tolerated by many, especially if you soak them overnight before cooking them.
Resistant starch selectively stimulates the good bacteria in our intestines, helping to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria...
Several studies have shown that [resistant starch] may improve insulin sensitivity, and decrease blood glucose levels in response to meals...
Why Soak the Beans?
For maximum digestibility and nutrition, white navy beans should be soaked in filtered water with a pinch of baking soda before they are cooked.
Like other legumes and grains, white navy beans contain the anti-nutrient phytic acid which can interfere with the absorption of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Soaking beans helps to neutralize the phytic acid and improves their digestibility (thereby reducing their tendency to cause gassiness).
Slow Cooker = Easy-Peasy
Besides the flavor and nutrition, one of my favorite things about this recipe is that's it's easy! It takes only ~15 minutes to put the ingredients into the 7-quart slow cooker in the morning, then it simmers all day in the slow cooker and is ready by dinnertime.
We like to top this chili with cheese, sour cream, green onion, and/or fresh avocado. It is also great without any garnish at all. This recipe is loved by adults and kids-alike in our house.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Chili
Active Prep Time: 15-20 min
Inactive Slow-cooking Time: 6-10 hours
8 oz dried white navy beans, soaked 8-24 hours in filtered water with a sprinkle of baking soda, then rinsed well and drained
2 medium white onions, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2.5 cups chicken or beef broth, preferably homemade
26-ounce box of diced tomatoes with juice (I like Pomi brand, which is BPA-free)
1&1/2 pounds of ground beef, preferably grassfed
2 Tb celtic sea salt (you may need less if your broth or tomatoes have added salt)
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tb ground cumin
1&1/2 tsp dried oregano
1&1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 Tb butter
OPTIONAL for added spiciness: 1-2 chopped jalapeños (you can use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds, and some of the spiciness will go with them; beware that if you touch the inside of jalapeños with bare fingers, they may burn for days!)
OPTIONAL garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, chopped avocado
The night before you want to cook the chili, cover the beans with filtered water and a sprinkle of baking soda. Allow to soak for 8-24 hours, then rinse well and drain.
In the morning, put the beans in the bottom of your 7-quart slow cooker. This is important to allow the beans to fully cook!
Then add the chopped veggies and garlic. Season with ~half of the spices.
Crumble the ground beef on top. Add the broth and tomatoes. Season with the other half of the spices. Dot the butter on top of everything.
Put the lid on, and cook on low for 9-10 hours, or high for 6-8 hours. (CrockPot brand slow cookers reach a higher temperature on the Low setting than some other brands. If you have a Hamilton Beach slow cooker, go ahead and cook this on High most of the day, as otherwise the temperature will not be hot enough. You can potentially turn it back down to Low a couple hours before dinner, if desired.)
About 30-60 minutes before dinner, stir it all together and check the saltiness and level of spice. This is a good time to add more salt and spices if desired.
At dinner time, ladle into bowls, top with optional cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, and/or avocado. Enjoy!
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