First, I start by soaking the beans (2 cups here with enough water to cover them twice over) overnight in room-temperature water. Any medium sized bean will work, these are just called "red beans".
Next, I rinse the beans and fill the pot again with the soaked beans and new water to the same level as before. I bring the water and beans to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, and then turn off the burner and let the beans sit in the hot water for two hours.
This time when I drain the beans, I reserve 1 cup of the bean juice to add to the chili. This bean juice has a lot of natural enzymes which help you digest the beans, something the human body does not do well on its own.
Now, I brown 2 pounds of bulk sausage (hamburger if you prefer, but the sausage adds to the spicy flavor). I use lamb sausage because that is the meat we had made into sausage since we don't raise pigs.
Then into the crock pot goes the following on high for 4 hours:
- Browned sausage
- Partially cooked beans
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup bean juice
- 1 jar (8 oz) natural apricot preserves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves minced/ 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon chipotle chili powder/2 Tablespoon regular chili powder
This chili tastes great topped with shredded cheese or sour cream.
Sorry I didn't get a picture of the final chili, but we had to eat quick and run to small group tonight. The finished chili was enough to feed our family of 5, plus left overs for a few meals, and another full meal to put into the freezer either for us or a family from church if the need should arise.