Friday, January 14, 2011


I had a delicious meat chili at a friend's house the other night and got inspired. Digging through my recipe book I found what I was looking for--a vegetarian chili recipe that calls for, among other tasty ingredients, espresso..and chocolate! Mmmm. As much as I love a hearty carnivore-type chili once in a while, If I'm gonna make a whole pot of it, I'm gonna go veggie. I've made this recipe once before but it turned out way better this time, largely because I stewed real black beans ahead of time instead of using canned, and I think maybe also because I used Trader Joe's fire-roasted canned tomatoes rather than just the plain old ones. The recipe called for assorted toppings such as sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, shredded cheese, sliced jalapenos and shaved bittersweet chocolate--I opted for cilantro, Fage greek-style yogurt (healthier and tastier than sour cream), Trader Joe's corn salsa and home-made whole wheat (baked not fried!) tortilla chips. Drew got half a Bi-Rite Diestel turkey meatball thrown into his too, for good measure. :) The recipe is as follows--be forewarned, it makes a LARGE amount of chili!

1/2 cup olive oil (or high heat tolerant oil, preferably)
5 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup instant espresso powder (or 4 Barrel ground espresso, if you live in a coffee snob household)
1/4 cup of chili powder (adjust depending on how spicy you want it)
1/4 cup ground cumin)
1/4 cup dried oregano leaves
2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/3 cup honey (the good kind!)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
7 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed, drained (or equivalent amount of fresh black beans)
2 cups of water
1 tbl salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
large pinch of ground cinnamon

Heat oil in heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in espresso powder, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook 1 minute. Mix in tomatoes, honey and garlic. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 30 min. Add beans, 2 cups of water, salt, chipotle chili powder and cinnamon. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until mixture thickens slightly, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle chili into bowl and serve with toppings. Great the next day and several after, too.

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