Photo by  Ann Cutting

Photo by Ann Cutting

Eric's Anasazi Chili Beans

On a recent trip to southern Utah, my husband Eric and I acquired a 10 pound bag of beans. Dubbed “Anasazi” beans because they come by way of the old Pueblo native culture, they turned out to be exceptionally fresh and so re-hydrated easily and cooked quickly. These beans have a lovely creamy texture and satisfying flavor. The lesson is to avoid beans that have been sitting on the grocer’s shelf, and pay a bit more for fresh.

Here is Eric’s recipe for beans in a chili sauce that borrows a special addition, honey, from the New Mexican dish Carne Adovada.


  • 1 1/2 cups dry beans
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 fresh Pasillo or similar green chili
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1 dried chili (ancho, for example)
  • 2 Tbs. medium chili powder
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. honey


  • Wash the beans, cover with water to a depth of one inch over them, and leave to soak six to 24 hours. The longer they’ve soaked, the faster they’ll cook and the creamier they’ll be. Once soaked, cook the beans very slowly over low heat and without the salt until the individual beans are softening but still al dente
  • While the beans are cooking, finely dice the onion, the fresh chili and the dried chili. In a small frying pan, sauté the diced mixture in the oil until soft. 
  • Grind the cumin seeds in a spice grinder and collect in a small bowl.
  • Carefully measure each of the remaining dry ingredients (chili powder, Mexican oregano and salt) and add to the same small bowl. Once the beans are nearly done, add the sautéed mixture, the dry ingredients and the honey. If necessary, add more water so that the mixture is slightly soupy. Simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes. The beans should be soft and the flavors in the sauce integrated.


Victor Jaramillo Honey