Snow Day In Nashvlle Black Bean Mole Chili with Coconut Cornbread


I just love this Southern city that shuts down neatly and absolutely at the first sign of a snowflake! I really do…totally…seriously. This morning I awoke to a hushed quiet…no clamor of jack-hammers, no hubbub of beeping trucks backing up, no babel of traffic…shhhhhh…it’s quiet here…can you hear it? I am right downtown and it is tranquil!

A day such as this calls for staying indoors & hot steaming bowls of chili. Any kind of chili you like. But how about my “Black Bean Mole Chili”? Thick with beans, tomatoes…spiced with chipotle chile powder, cocoa and freshly squeezed orange juice all cooked down to make a snow day anywhere more cozy!

Out my front window early morning.


Not a true “mole negro”, but with much of the same flavor as one I remember eating in Oaxaca a few years ago. That mole was so thick and dark red-black in color smothering the roasted chicken I was eating  that the incredible flavor is forever part of my best-loved food memories. My version is in no way authentic, but is a tribute to the real thing.

Dark cocoa and chili pepper combined to enrich the other ingredients…all cooked down to a thick dark red-black color.


“Coconut Cornbread Cakes” made in one of my favorite Lodge Cast Iron pans.



Black Bean Mole Chili

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients for Chili:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1  small onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp Chipotle chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large cans diced tomatoes with juices
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over medium high heat. Add onions to pan and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in, while stirring, the cocoa powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin powder, cinnamon and allspice. Turn heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes while stirring.
  3. Add orange juice to pan. Stir to blend and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Add black beans and tomatoes to the pan and bring to a low boil. Stirring often. Turn heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Serve with coconut cornbread cakes.

Ingredients for Coconut Cornbread:

  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place cast iron pan (skillet or muffin tin) with coconut oil in the oven to heat while you make the batter.
  3. Mix together 1/2 cup of the coconut, cornmeal, flour, coconut milk, buttermilk and egg just until blended. Add more liquid if you need to.
  4. When pan is really hot, remove from oven and quickly pour in batter.
  5. Sprinkle top of batter with remaining 1/2 cup coconut and bake until cornbread is puffy and golden brown and the coconut is browned. Delicious served hot with chili.

Teresa Blackburn

31 thoughts on “Snow Day In Nashvlle Black Bean Mole Chili with Coconut Cornbread

  1. Can you please come over and bundle me up in my snowsuit, put bread wrappers on my feet, send me out in the snow to play…and then have some of that chili and cornbread waiting for me!?! please!?

    1. Oh I would love that! We would have such fun and then eat bowls of chili and laugh about life! I wished you were close enough so that we could walk to each others houses in the snow! Love you you sweet one.

  2. I knew you would be cooking up something delicious while snuggled inside on a rare snow day in Nashville Teresa! Your mole black bean chili with its coconut cornbread did not disappoint! I wish we were neighbors right now! So different and interesting. Another of your recipes I will need to try!

    1. Thanks Johanne for coming by on this snowy weekend! We got about 6-8 inches of snow which is just incredible and today as the temp never rose it is still beautiful and deep. A Robert Frost day!

  3. Teresa, you are amazing! I made a Hot Chicken Chili Stew this morning with leftover Hattie B’s. I have always loved putting a little coconut in my corn bread. Wish I saw you more often!

    1. Oh Mercy Jamie, using the leftover Hattie B’s sounds divine and what a great re-use for that fab chicken! Very clever you are! I would love to see you more as well. I keep up a bit via Amy but not the same as in person! Thanks and stay warm and cozy.

    1. I know the weather really brings out the “chili” in us to ward off the chill…just another excuse to make a big pot of this favorite everywhere I think. Thanks much.

  4. We’re hunkered down here in DC – 14 inches on the ground, it’s thundersnowing at the moment, and we’re expected to get at least another foot today. Oh how I adore mole – your chili looks amazing!! I think I’ll have to give your recipe a try! (we could be stuck in the house for days…:)

  5. love this recipe……to me it will be great also on non-snow days in la or la paz…..with a paloma, of course!!!

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