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Pinto Bean Chili

This is my go-to recipe for Super Bowl parties and other occasions when casual and hearty are order of the day. Served with a crisp salad and some great bread, this is a winning meal.

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1/2 red onion, cut into small dice
Sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small jalape´┐Żo chile, minced, seeds, spines removed
1 red bell pepper, roasted, diced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups pinto beans, rinsed well, soaked for 1 hour in hot water
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
3 to 3 1/2 cups spring or filtered water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 to 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced, for garnish

Make the chili: Place oil, garlic and onion in a soup pot over medium heat. When the onion sizzles, add a pinch of salt and sautee until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, chile, bell pepper and a pinch of salt and sautee for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to dissolve paste. Add beans, quinoa, water, bay leaf, paprika and cocoa powder and stir well. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until beans are creamy and soft, about 1 hour. Season with 1 teaspoon salt or less and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes more. 

To serve the chili, spoon into individual bowls and garnish with parsley or cilantro. 

Note: You can substitute canned organic pinto beans in this recipe to shorten the cooking time to 30 minutes. Instead of 3 cups water, add only enough water to generously cover the ingredients to create a creamy chili.

Makes 5 servings. 


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