Hearty Mixed Bean Chilli

, from Issue #110. July, 2023
Photography by Yuki Sato.
Hearty Mixed Bean Chilli

A big batch of rich and smoky bean chilli using many cupboard essentials with a couple of extras like dark cocoa and refried beans that give it a deeply satisfying flavour.

Serves: 10-12


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
2 red capsicums, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
sea salt
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 whole chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the tin
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 x 400-gram tins chopped tomatoes
440-gram tin refried black beans (I use La Morena)
400-gram tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
400-gram tin black beans, drained and rinsed


Preheat the oven to 180°C regular bake.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot and add the onions, carrots, celery, capsicums and bay leaves with a good pinch of salt. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Put the garlic, chipotles and the sauce, vinegar, tamari, tomato paste, cocoa, cumin, oregano, paprika and cinnamon in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Tip over the vegetables, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes then rinse each tin out with 1⁄2 cup of water and add along with the refried black beans and the red kidney and black beans and bring to the boil.

Place in the oven and cook, uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally until reduced and thick.

COOK’S NOTE: After cooking, you can tip half the chilli beans into a shallow container and cool quickly then cover and either chill for up to 4 days or freeze.

Use as a base for a soup, top with silky mashed orange kūmara and bake like a pie, use as a topping for baked potatoes with sour cream and grated cheese, over cooked rice, in tacos, or wrapped in flatbreads.