When my inside doorknob looks like this:
and the view out my window looks like this:
it’s time for a taste of summer!
Last summer I planted scarlet runner beans for the first time. They grew inches every day, and the birds spent so much time flitting in and out, I thought they were going to build nests! (Actually they were eating the flowers, a habit I picked up later. They taste like honey.)
The bean pods have to be picked young, or they get tough and kind of hairy. So in spite of the birds (and me) eating the flowers, we ended up with quite a few dry pods. In the fall, I picked them. And…scarlet runner beans are absolutely gorgeous!
So I cooked some and froze more, and on this wintry day I made chili. Mmmm. Cooked scarlet runner beans taste sort of like potatoes. And summer.
- 8 cups chopped vegetables (onion, peppers, corn, carrots, celery, zucchini, or any others you like)
- 1 large can diced tomatoes (or about 4 cups fresh chopped)
- 4 cups cooked Scarlet Runner Beans (or other beans, but they won’t taste as much like summer) — about 2 cups dry
- 2 tsp. each: chili powder, cumin, basil (more if you like your chili spicy)
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more to taste)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Cook the beans. Start by soaking them for a few hours or overnight, then drain, put in a pot, cover with water, and cook until tender. The time will vary depending on the beans, but will probably be 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Or cook them in a crock pot for several hours on high power.
- Chop vegetables.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add chopped vegetables and spices and cook until veggies are tender (about 15 minutes). Stir occasionally.
- Add tomatoes, beans, and salt.
- Simmer over medium-low heat until everything is hot, and serve. You can also simmer it longer on low heat. Just stir every few minutes so the chili doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Serve with rice, quinoa, scones, or corn bread.