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Kidney Beans In Chilli

Asked by Karen Johnston. Answered on 9th January 2018

Full question

Can I use dried kidney beans for the canned version in Choc Chip Chilli from the Nigella Christmas book? I've made this before and it is so good, but living in France I can't find canned kidney beans. Thanks.

Our answer

Nigella's Choc Chip Chilli (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) is a rich stew made with spicy chorizo sausage and cubes of beef shin. The dark (bittersweet) chocolate chips add depth and savouriness to the sauce. The chilli also uses 4 x 400g cans of kidney beans, rather than dried beans, for convenience. We are not sure which area of France you are based in, but both Casino and Carrefour supermarkets sell cans of kidney beans under their own label and the Bonduelle brand of canned kidney beans can usually be found in larger supermarkets, such as Intermarche.

If you need to use dried kidney beans instead then the rule of thumb is that dried beans roughly triple in weight when cooked. A 400g can of kidney beans yields about 240g of drained beans, so you will need to use about 80g dried beans per can (so for 4 cans use 320g dried beans). Cover the beans with plenty of water and leave them to soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans then put in a saucepan and cover generously with plenty of fresh cold water (no salt). Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes (the boiling step is essential for kidney beans) then reduce the heat and simmer the beans for 30-40 minutes until they are just tender, but not too soft as they will cook further in the stew. The cooking time will depend on the age of the beans, older beans will take longer to become tender. Drain the beans and add them to the stew or cool and refrigerate (within 2 hours of cooking) and use within 2 days.

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