Heirloom Bean Chili


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, olive oil or Llano Seco Lard
  • 1 lb ground beefpork or combination (use cubed pork butt or chuck roast for chunkier chili, or add a Llano Seco smoked ham hock)-omit for vegetarians
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine ­ don’t drain)
  • 1­-2 fresh hot chiles, seeded and minced (Jalapeño or serrano ­ don’t seed for more heat)
  • 2­-3 poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1 lb dried Black Turtle, Black Calypso or Jacob's Cattle (or combination), rinsed & soaked if you like.


      1. Put oil in large pot over medium­ high heat. When hot ­add ground meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Adjust the heat so it sizzles steadily and cook, stirring occasionally to break it up, until meat browns (about 5­-10 minutes).
      2. Add the onion, and cook, stirring once in a while, until it softens and turns golden (3­5 minutes). Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes fragrant (another minute).
      3. Add the tomatoes, chiles, and beans to the pot, along with enough water to cover everything by 2-­3" inches. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily, but not furiously, and cover. Cook, undisturbed, for 30 minutes. After that, stir the chili every 20 minutes or so and adjust the heat so it continues to bubble gently; add more water, 1/2 cup at a time, if the chili starts to stick to the bottom of the pot.
      4. When the beans begin to soften (30­-60 minutes, depending on the type of bean and whether or not you soaked them), sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if the pot looks too dry, until the beans are quite tender but still intact­­this will take about the same amount of time as it took for them to soften. When the beans are very tender, taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.
      5. For added smokieness ­char the peppers in the broiler before use. To do this-coat with olive oil and place on baking sheet covered with tin foil, then place in oven on broiler setting, for about 5 minutes and flip them until charred on both sides. Wait for them to cool before chopping and adding to chili. Chili can be spicy, omit jalapeños or serranos to keep it more mild.