SND – Espresso + Chili = Love

October 1, 2007

First off, I should note that this came from Petra’s famous handwritten cookbook and I think it might have been the first dish I ever made from it. It is also, perhaps, the most requested dish that I make. I know that JM would eat it as often as I felt like cooking it. Unfortunately(?), this makes tons of leftovers… which is great for the first three days. And then I start thinking that if I never see chili again, it’ll be too soon.

On the other hand – BIG.VAT.OF.CHILI…. and there’s no wrong there. So, thanks, Petra for passing this one along.

Also note: do not make this during Passover. I’ve never felt so bad in my life. Just a head’s up so you don’t make the same mistake.

Black Bean and Espresso Chili
Sweet Cornbread with jalapeño
Plain, old ordinary cornbread
Lots and lots of wine (courtesy of Matt, Ruth, and Goofy)

Black Been and Espresso Chili
Adapted from Petra’s Recipe

Originally, this called only for black beans. I made it that way once, but felt that it needed another flavour/texture, so I started adding the corn. I also cut waaay back on the amount of onions used – I’m just not that big of an onion fan.

As for the amount of spices – the recipe is more of “what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.” This is truly a “spice to taste” recipe for me.

Below is the recipe as I actually make it.

A couple of Tbsp of Olive Oil
4-5 medium onions (or 2.5-3 large ones), roughly chopped
1/4 cup (heaping) instant espresso powder
1/4 cup (heaping) chili powder
1/4 cup (heaping) ground cumin
1/4 cup (heaping) diced oregano
2 – 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes with puree
Honey (I squeeze until I get annoyed; recipe calls for 1/3 cup. I don’t think I ever use that much).
4-5 cloves of garlic (I only had 3 last night and it was fine), minced
5 – 15oz cans of black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 – 15oz cans of whole corn kernnels (drained and rinsed)
2 cups of water
large pinch of chipotle powder
large pinch of cinnamon
Cheddar Cheese, grated
Bittersweet chocolate, grated

Heat up olive oil and saute onions until soft and yellowing. Add espresso powder, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for 1 min. Add tomatoes, honey, and garlic. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for 30 min.

Add black beans, corn, water, chipotle and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 30 min or until thickened.

Serve with cheese and chocolate as topping options.

Sweet Cornbread Muffins with jalapeño pieces
Adapted from the Alber’s Cornmeal box

We have an awesome muffin loaf tin that I use for cornbread. It ups the cooktime by about 5 min, but I’ll list what it takes for actual muffins. This can, of course, be made without the jalapeño if that’s not your style. I didn’t use all the salt or all the butter, but it still came out okay. The batter was runnier than I’m used to for cornbread, but the final product seemed fine.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup corn meal
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line muffin tins (says it makes 18-20 muffins, but I can’t confirm that).

Combine flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder, salt, and jalapeño in a medium bowl. Combine milk, eggs, vegetable oil and butter in a small bowl; mix well. Add to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Let stand for 1-2 min, then mix again (this helps it to rise more); Pour into prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Plain, old Cornbread
Adapted from recipe on Alber’s corn meal box

This yields a denser, drier, less sweet cornbread if that’s more your style. I like both – I like to mix this one into the chili.

1 cup corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease square baking pan (it calls for 8-inch, but I used a 9-inch – was just a bit thinner).

Combine cornmeal, sugar, baking powser and salt into a medium bowl. Combine milk, oil, and egg in small bowl; mix well. Add wet mixture into the dry; stir just until blended. Let stand for 1-2 min, then mix again (this helps it to rise more). Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 min (less if in a 9-inch pan) or until toothpick comes out clean.



  1. Hmmm, chili. I haven’t had chili in forever . . . or at least not since last winter.

  2. […] 25: Black Bean, Corn and Espresso Chili, along with cornbread two ways (with jalepenos and […]

  3. […] Recipe previously given: Espresso + Chili = Love […]

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