Really Good “Bam!” Chili

butterfly Serves: 4 - you may want to double it!

Written By Eydie Desser


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This chili has enough spice for adults, yet mild enough for kids! I was inspired by the recipe in Emeril Lagasse’s “There’s a Chef in My Soup.”  The recipe is called “Some Real Good Chili.”  To “Garden of Eydie it” we replaced the meat with beans, and skipped the oil, salt and sugar.  Adding lime juice and cilantro did the trick to make this chili so darn good, even a Texas Cowboy will scarf it down!   The Farmer’s Market was brimming with gorgeous purple and lilac, cream, and pink colored “scarlet runner beans,” which are super meaty.  “Bam!”….I had the foundation of making a super satisfying, “meaty” textured chili—healthy enough to be planted (pun intended) on my site! 


  • 1 cup dry Scarlet Runner Beans or other “meaty” beans–(Gigante, black or red) (or 2 cans no salt added beans)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (2 cups)
  • 3 large garlic cloves (1 tablespoon minced)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Bam spice (see recipe below)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 3 tablespoons salt free tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of ½ lime or more to taste
  • cilantro for garnish
For the Bam Spice Mixture:

(Makes about ¾ cup) (Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.)

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme


For the Beans:

(if using dried beans it can be made 5 days in advance, or frozen for a month in advance)

  1. Rinse the beans and pour in enough water to cover by 2-inches  Soak overnight.
  2. Place soaked beans with their water in a 3-quart or larger pot, and add more water to cover the beans by an inch or so.
  3. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook the beans until they are just done.  Timing depends on the freshness of the beans.  Super just harvested beans only needed to cook 25 minutes.  Check the beans every 20 minutes or so to see when they are just cooked through.  Once cooked, drain and reserve.
Make the Chili:
  1. Place a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat for about 1 minute, or until a piece of onion when put in the pot, sizzles.  Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, Bam spice, cumin and black pepper.  Stir quickly to combine.  Lower the heat to low, and cover the pot.  Let the onion and spices meld for a minute or two.  Lift the cover and give it a stir, scraping up brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, place the whole tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and squeeze them with your hands to break them into pieces. Add the squeezed tomatoes, tomato paste and water to the pot.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.   
  3. Add the cooked beans and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and the chili is thickened.
  4. Add lime juice to taste and garnish with cilantro.
butterfly Cook's Notes:
  1. Recently harvested beans only need 5 hours of soaking and about 25 minutes of cooking.  Ask your farmer when the beans were harvested. 
  2. Making your own spice mixture is a great way to use up your spices, and is much fresher and more flavorful than store bought spices.  It will keep for at least 3 months, and usually longer.  Just give it a smell and when you can’t smell the flavor, it’s time to make a new batch.

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