Mmm...piping hot, 3 bean chili topped with a dollop of sour cream and a bit of mashed avocado. When it's cold outside and you want to feel warm inside, make a pot of chili. Don't let the ingredient list scare you; chili is easy to prepare, it just takes a while to cook. Slow is better when you've got chili on the stove! The low heat allows the seasonings to fully penetrate the beans and vegetables. You'll become quite popular when you serve your friends and family this recipe during a chilly winter.
Don't be afraid to try different toppings and seasonings. If you like your chili spicy, add a few drops of Tabasco sauce or a bit of salsa. Cilantro also goes well with this dish. Any type of chopped onion, green, white, red or yellow, adds a nice kick. Cheese is a must-have, but add it last. You want the cheese to be slightly melted but not mixed into the chili. Any firm or semi-firm white or yellow cheese is a wonderful chili topping. Sour cream or plain yogurt is an addition many people have to have, too. Like the cheese, be sure to add sour cream or yogurt last. Also, combine several toppings such as avocado slices, Mexican cheese, and green onions. You can cook jalapenos with the chili if you like additional spice.
This recipe serves eight. Promptly refrigerate any unused portions. The chili can be made ahead of time, and it's even tastier the next day.
Heat the stock pot or Dutch oven to medium high. Add the canola oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Stir with a spoon until the vegetables are soft, but not mushy. Add the three cans of beans and the canned tomatoes. Do not drain any of the cans prior to using. You want all the juice! Stir well to combine.
Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, bay leaf, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir again to combine the seasonings. Turn the heat down to medium low. Place a lid on the stock pot or Dutch oven but tip the lid so the steam can vent.
Although the beans are cooked, let the mixture sit. Check the chili periodically and give it a stir. The 3 bean chili can be ready in as little as one hour, but if you want it to be even more flavorful, allow it to simmer on the back of the stove for up to two hours or more.
Serve immediately in small bowls with the toppings of your choice, or serve over steamed white rice. Another twist is to eat the chili with mashed up soda crackers.