Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Secret Ingredient!

These red hot chili peppers are the secret ingredient! Now that you know the secret ingredient! here's, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story:

Everyone who tastes my Spicy Beans and Rice likes it and says, "Gee this is really great chili." Here's how I make my spicy beans and rice. First I take a package of 16 bean soup mix. I discard the ham flavoring packet - it has monosodium glutamate in it and some other stuff I am not sure I want to eat. Besides I like using my own spices. I soak the beans overnight at room temperature covering them with about two inches of water. If you have a stove with a pilot light, don't leave the soaking beans on the stove overnight, since the heat from the pilot light will start to cook the beans and possibly make them start to ferment.

If you can't find the 16 bean mix you could substitute some beans of your choice. The mix contains small white beans, small red beans, black beans, light red kidney beans, large Lima beans, red lentils, pearl barley, Adzuki beans, green split peas, yellow split peas, pinto beans, baby Lima beans, Great Northern beans, lentils, pink beans, and blackeye peas.

The next morning I put the beans in my large, electric crock pot. I add one large can of chopped tomatoes and one small can of tomato paste. (Notice how I'm using generic brands so I'm savin pennies, makin dollars). I add about 10 cups of water. I turn the crock pot on to cook for 12 hours. Next I add about a teaspoon each of dried spices like celery seed, rosemary, cilantro, tarragon, mustard seed, one crumpled-up bay leaf, and some salt and pepper.

Sometimes I chop up a shallot and add that in. I might add in some sage or thyme. If I have some carrots and celery I might chop them up and put them in. I make it a little different each time, but I always use the secret ingredient! You're probably wondering if it makes that much difference whether you use the secret ingredient or not. Yes it does, just three tiny red hot chili peppers give the Spicy Beans and Rice a lot of flavor and just enough warmth to make a big difference.

My home grown peppers are really hot, if you buy some at the store they might not be as hot, or they might be too hot for your taste buds. So the first time you try the recipe, use one red hot chili pepper, if it isn't hot enough, then you can always add one more and so on. Wait till the end of the cooking time until you do your taste test for spiciness, since it takes a while for the flavor of red hot chili peppers to meld into the rest of the ingredients.

I finely chop up three red hot chili peppers. I grew these peppers in my garden and dried them naturally at the end of the season. Two of the peppers are Hungarian wax peppers and one is a Fresno chili. I never use three Hungarian chili peppers, they are too hot, only two. My Fresno chili isn't that hot so I add one of those in for flavor too. Every red chili pepper is different, some are hotter than others. If you don't have peppers you grew, you can use dried peppers you purchase. A word of caution: after chopping the peppers, wash your hands well before touching anything, like your eyes. Also wipe down where you chopped the peppers too.

During the last hour of cooking, I stir in one cup of brown rice and let it cook. This cup of rice is a mixture of several types of brown rice. You can use white rice if you want, but don't use the quick-cooking type of rice. Beans and rice make a complete protein which is good for human dietary needs, so be sure to use the rice. If the mixtures is too thick at the end, just add a little more water. Hint: if the mixture is too hot for your taste buds, adding a little water to thin it down also cuts the hotness down. These Spicy Beans and Rice will really warm your innards on a cold day. Give them a try and be sure to use the secret ingredient!


  1. Yummmm! And it's so cold - this would be the perfect dinner. Too bad you live so far away!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  2. mmmm this recipe is defiantly going on the menu for this weekend at the cabin! I'll have to do store bought chili peppers though :o( thanks for the great photos it warmed me up today.

  3. okay... great post. I don't have any black pepper at all in my home; I laughed when I read about the secret ingredient. So, maybe someday? I have to learn to like black pepper first, though.

  4. Hi Judy, I wish some other potters I know from their blogs lived closer too. I'd have them all over for a get together.

    Hi Cindy, this is a great recipe if you make a big batch because you don't have to do much cooking for a couple of days after that, perfect for a cabin trip.

    Hi Amy, not sure about the black pepper, this is red hot chili peppers - much different than black pepper. Even if you don't like red chilis or black pepper, you can make this without them - and it is still good and very tasty - I think it is the cooking it for a very long time and the flavors all blending together.

  5. This is a hearty dish. I like the mixture of brown rice varieties. I will make it without your secret ingredient for myself since I am a spice wimp, but I'll add several peppers for my husband who likes his food 'the hotter the better'. By the way, do you think your peppers are so spicy because of your climate as well as the variety you grow? I can sometimes get good flavor from peppers in my garden in our foggy SF Bay summers but rarely much spiciness.

  6. Hi Barbara, even my sister and mom liked it with the chilies and they are super wimps. I grew the Hungarian peppers by mistake and thought they would be mild. I had six plants and they produced tons. I am still using what I dried from two years ago.

    I think peppers like some heat to mature, but I also let them stay on the plant till they are really almost over-ripe (that might be the trick). I also chop up the whole pepper when I cook with it, even the seeds and the seeds are usually the hottest part. Try using black ground cover cloth (not plastic) or gravel under the peppers to absorb the heat and reflect it back into the plant at night and you might do better with the peppers. I used to live in San Pablo and I had a terrible time growing peppers there. What varieties are you growing that aren't spicy?

  7. This does sound good, Linda. My hubby doesn't like food as hot as I do, but I think he could handle 3 dried green chiles. I got extras from my CSA and dehydrated both green and red ones. (The green ones in an electric dehydrator, the red strung up in the garage.) I'll bet one green and two red would be wonderfully flavorful!

  8. Hi Gary, not sure about your comment? it's gone over my head, I guess.

  9. Hi Chili, nice to see you here. Are the green chilies Anaheim chilies? I just love those they are mild and the flavor is wonderful. I have a dehydrator, but found the chilies dried on their own just lying on a plate in a cool place.


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