Monday, April 20, 2009

Calypso Chili! plus an award!

I'm just squeaking under the wire here for Gloria's marvelous Chili Cookoff over atFoods and Flavors of San Antonio.

Recently I was shopping with my BFF, Todd, at the Triangle's truly amazing gourmet store, A Southern Season, and found they have an amazing variety of dried beans in the "grocery" section. I've been interested in trying Calypso beans for a while now, ever since I read about them in Passionate Vegetarian. Lo and behold, there was a package of Red Calypso Beans at SS, so I snapped it up. Along with about $40 0f fine leaf tea-- but more about that in another post.

Calypso beans are an heirloom variety that most commonly come in black and white, but they also come in red and butterscotch. I found today that they maintain their distinctive coloring even when cooked.

I thought it would be fun to create a chili recipe using the Calypso beans, so even though this isn't strictly Tex-Mex cooking, here is my original recipe for this month's Chili Cookoff Challenge. My inspiration for this recipe was the delicious pot of borracho beans I made last week to go with Dee's fantastic Easy Sour Cream Enchiladas. Dee, they were incredible!!! We will be making your enchiladas often. My borracho beans were the perfect complement!

CALYPSO CHILI by DomesticMuse

1/2 lb. calypso beans
2 dried guajillo chiles
2 lg. cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 14 oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
2 c. beer (I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground sirloin
2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. dried oregano
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 fresh poblano, stemmed, seeded and diced
1/2 orange bell pepper

3 lg. garlic cloves, chopped
2 c. peach-pineapple salsa


Rinse the beans well and pick over to remove any debris.

Spray a large cooking pot with nonstick spray. Add the beans, dried guajillos, bay leaves, garlic, 2 t. salt and water to cover by 2 inches.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, aboutu 1 1/2 hrs.

Remove the guajillos from from the pot, remove the stems and discard, and place the chiles in a blender with enough of the cooking liquid to puree. Bltz to puree.

Pour the puree back into the bean pot. Rinse the residue out of the blender with a little water and add to the pot.

Add the fire roasted tomatoes, the tomato paste, and the beer to the beans. Simmer 5-10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Reduce to low heat.

Meanwhile, spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and add 2 T extra virgin olive oil. Heat over medium heat and add the ground sirloin and the ground pork.

Cook, stirring, until well-browned. Add 2t t. ground cumin, 1/2 t. dried oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1-2 more minutes to blend the flavors, then with a slotted spoon, lift the browned meat out of the pan and add to the bean pot

Pour off all but 2 T fat from the skillet. Add the chopped bacon, and fry slowly over medium heat, until browned. Remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon and add to the bean pot. Add the onion to the skillet and cook in the bacon fat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh chopped poblano and the sweet bell pepper to the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the onions, peppers and garlic to the bean pot. Stir in the peach-pineapple salsa. Taste and add seasonings as needed.

You can see the pineapple pieces here:

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped avocado. You also can't go wrong with some cornbread!

The Calypso Chili was really tasty. I was suprised at how flavorful it was, even though it was not spicy hot. For those who like chili but not heat, this could be the perfect dish!

I'd like to thank the ever-cool Girlichef, Heather, for sharing the Sisterhood Award
with me!

Heather is the greatest-- she always has a kind word or a funny story to offer! Heather was tremendously helpful in answering some chefly questions I had last month about my joust entry, so I owe her bigtime for that! (E.g., will ground nuts stick to scallops? And if they do, how do you keep them from burning?) Heather's blog, Girlichef is awesome, and big fun, so if you haven't ventured over there, do so post-haste!! She's showing how to make rootbeer floats from homemade rootbeer-- how cool is THAT???? Heather, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing the Sisterhood award with me! You really made my week! And thanks to all of you for your support as I have been transitioning between homes. Food bloggers are the best, most creative, awesome, and wonderful people there are!

I know you have all been hearing this forever, but I am putting togetherthe EONA roundup and will announce winners soon... very soon!

Yours in culinary love,


  1. I'm blushing. I gave you the Sisterhood award for all those reasons...but on your end! I love your blog and your foodie-friendship :) And I love, LOVE this chili! Calypso beans are rockin' my world right now. I want some!

  2. You are so creative with all your new recipes. Original and new. Love them. How do you find the time? I am so bummed I never got to do the contest.. life happened and then happened again and I never got around to it, but I entered in spirit:)

  3. Those beans are beautiful, have you ever tried the "Flor de Mayo" beans? They look like Pinto beans but have really light shades of purple and pink nad stuff really interesting.

    I'm gonna have to learn to make these combination of ground meat and beans since I love heavy bean stews :)


    I've been gone for sooo long but I still browse around your blog, and right now I have time to comment :) Hope you find a good use for the Spanish chorizo, the black eyed pea stew I posted uses teh WHOLE chorizo. So maybe you'd like to check it out :)

  4. I've never used Calypso beans - the chili sounds wonderful!

  5. This chili looks delicious! I love those beans, they are such a pretty color.

  6. Your Calypso Chili looks sooo good! Thanks for participating in the cook-off challenge. :)

  7. This looks great - I LOVE the idea of adding the pineapple-salsa to it, what a great flavor combination!

  8. I've never even heard of Calypso beans! They look delicious-such a creative recipe! I am loving the pineapple. I bet it adds the right about of sweetness.

  9. You chili looks fantastic, very creative!

  10. Congrats on your award!! Your chili looks totally fabulous. I mean, deeee-lish. Oh, and by the way, I ADORE Southern Season. When I was at UNC, my friends and I used to spend hours perusing the aisles. My best friend and I also took a few cooking classes there, which was super fun!

  11. wow, that salsa sounds pretty yummy by itself, but it would clearly be even better incorporated into a beany, meaty, smoky chili. terrific recipe!!


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