By Danielle French

White Bean Chilli

I had some interesting looking Jacobs Cattle white beans from Lunar Rhythm Gardens . This batch was a white bean which I normally use for making baked beans or a rosemary garlic dip. I thought they might be a good base for some chilli – white bean chilli. Chilli is such a great winter dish and an ode to Family Day and the cold days of winter when a hearty bowl of stew or chilli is a welcome end to the day. I decided to try something a little bit hybrid – something between a white bean rosemary -sort -of -cassoulet type stew and traditional chilli.

organic white beans - Jacobs Cattle

Serving your chilli

The result was a hearty stew  perfect with cornbread or a few slices of sourdough and maybe a salad. My mom serves her chilli with corn chips on top and I serve mine with yogourt. While I haven’t tried making it without meat, I’m sure that it would be equally as good. We were feeling very satisfied after our bowl! (No corn chips, no yogourt, just a sprig of rosemary and cornbread.)

To begin

1 1/2 lbs of chuck or stewing beef.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion coarsely chopped
3-4 large cloves garlic finely chopped
2 stalks celery coarsely chopped
2 carrots coarsely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tsp Manvers station rub (optional)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more or less to your level of spiciness)
1 28-ounce can of stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth (or more as needed)

Cut the meat into large cubes. Heat a dutch oven on medium high heat, add the oil and brown the meat – taking care not to crowd the pan. Remove the pieces as they are brown about 3-5 minutes a side and set them aside until all of the meat is browned. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

browning stewing beef

Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the spices, vegetables, herbs and garlic, tomato paste and stir in the fat for approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the meat and beans, the tomatoes (and 1 tin of water to rinse the juices out) and rosemary and enough broth to cover the meat and beans by at least 1 inch. Cook in the oven at 325 for 2 hours or on a very low simmer on the top of the stove stirring occassionally. Check every once in a while to make sure there is ample liquid – enough to cover the mixture.


Remove from the oven and adjust for salt. The chilli will be thick. You can make this ahead or freeze. I heated a little bit of olive oil with a clover of crushed garlic, dried chilli flakes and additional fresh rosemary  and pooled it on top of the chilli when I served it along side the cornbread. The large chunks of meat had almost melted into the beans. It was delicious.

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Danielle French - Ash Naylor Photography

About Danielle

Looking for a simpler way of life for her four daughters and herself, Danielle moved from Toronto to this farm in the Bethany Hills of Southern Ontario, and over time together with her family and her partner Shawn, restored the barn, the iconic heritage silo and the land.

Danielle loves to create unique settings and menus for the many events she offers at South Pond Farms, such as authentic farm-to-table gatherings, bread-making workshops, culinary classes, and weddings. Danielle’s vision is to inspire others to share her vision of a traditional life and way of cooking and to feel the sense of history on this beautiful land.  

Danielle was also the host of a television series called Taste of the Country

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