Dad’s Chile Chili Beans

After my Dad started to recover from West Nile virus (yes, it’s a real thing. A vector-borne disease. Orange County had the most cases last year), he wasn’t that interested in eating but was willing to have soup. Which, after dropping 20 pounds, wasn’t really going to cut it in terms of protein content.

So, after some trial and error I came up with Dad’s chile chili beans. Chile for the New Mexico red and green chile in the recipe. Now that he’s better, they are still a favorite.


1 lb. ground beef

2 onions

6 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

2 cups dry King City pink beans, cooked (you can substitute other beans)

1 can tomato sauce

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can corn kernels

2-4 cups water

3 Tbsp. ground cumin

2 Tbsp. New Mexican red chile powder

1 Tbsp. ground black pepper

3/4 cup diced Hatch green chiles

1 Tbsp. oregano

Salt to taste


Peel and dice two onions. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat, and brown onions and garlic.

Add ground beef and cook through. If you have some extra tomatoes lying around, add those as well.

Open the cans and add to mixture. Stir.

Now start spicing it up. If you chile powder is really hot, you will probably want to use less than the recipe calls for. Start with some of the cumin, ground pepper, red chile powder and green chile. If you don’t have access to Hatch green chile (it is sold in jars at Trader Joe’s, cans at Whole foods and most other markets, at least in Southern California), and you don’t buy and grill your own in the Fall, you can substitute other chiles or powders to taste.

Now add the cooked beans, stir, taste, and adjust spices. Add water to give chile the desired consistency.

Cook for 10-20 minutes on low heat to allow flavors to meld. Serve with grated cheese, tortilla chips or just plain.


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