Black lentils make a welcome change from the usual pinto beans found in most chili. This chili is also made with dried red chili pods for extra flavor.
Sometimes the usual stuff gets boring. Beans in chili can get boring. It’s not that I don’t like them – I do, it’s just that I wanted something different. I also like lentils. Black lentils are my favorite because they hold their shape a little better than red or green lentils. They also have a more nutty flavor.
Chilis for Black Lentil Chili
I like using the dried California chili pods for this. They give a lot of flavors plus a little texture. Preparing them is pretty simple, too. Just put them in a bowl covered with water and some kind of weight to hold them down. They’re ready in about an hour. Don’t throw away that water either because it also has lots of complex flavors.
The Black Beluga Lentils
Finding black lentils is sometimes difficult. I have found them in the Mediterranean and other international stores. Of course, like everything else, they are available on Amazon. Their wonderful nutty flavor goes very well in salads, too. Lentils cook quickly, so you don’t have to use an Instant Pot, although it does speed things up a bit.
Chili Grind Beef
Chili grind is thicker and meatier than the regular grind, and it’s wonderful for chili. When I made this, I ground my own meat using my Kitchen Aid Grinder attachment. Grinding your own meat saves you money because you can get a chuck roast and grind it up for less than ground beef and you are only dealing with one muscle from one animal instead of many muscles from up to 200 animals. If you don’t have a grinder attachment, you can also use a food processor.
~~ -- For the Lentils -- ~~
- 1/2 pound Black lentils
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 Bay leaf
~~ -- For the Chilis -- ~~
- 4 Dried California Chili Pods
- 2 quarts Water
- 1 teaspoon Beef base
~~ -- For the Chili -- ~~
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1 clove Garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
- 1 tablespoon Red pepper sauce
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon Cornmeal
Prepare the Chilis
- Heat a cup of water and add the beef base to it. Stir thoroughly then put the chilis in the broth. Be careful. Put another bowl with something heavy on it so they can soak covered. Soak for one hour. Remove from water, straining and reserving the water. Discard stems and most seeds, then put into a small food processor and process into a paste. Set aside.
For the Lentils
- Put the lentils, broth, bay leaf, and broken up pieces of garlic in the pressure cooker. Cook on high for 6 minutes and use the quick release. Set aside.
For the Chili
- Put olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Add the cumin and cayenne and mix thoroughly. Don't let it burn! Add the ground beef and brown it.
- Using your hands, break the whole tomatoes up and put them in the pot with the ground beef. Add the juice in the can, too.
- Add the reserved chilis and their juice.
- Add the red pepper sauce.
- Add the yellow mustard.
- Taste for seasoning.
- Lower the heat and let it simmer for about an hour or until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the cornmeal and stir until thickened. Add the lentils and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until it''s all hot and tasty.