January 2022 – Black Bean Chili with Cocoa and Coffee, served with Lots-of-Gruyere Skillet Cornbread (Quick and Easy)

Colder than damn-it winter days…stay-inside-with-a-book grey winter days….days that could be dusk or dawn…cozy foods such as a large pot of Black Bean Chili with lots of spicy Rancho Gordo Chile Powder and dark, dark cocoa powder and brewed coffee in the mix…. simmering on the stove, an iron-skillet Gruyere-Black Pepper Cornbread just out of the oven….grabbing a bit of bliss whenever I can. Today is such as day.

What are you eating today? What are you reading or watching….listening to?

Be safe, be well, be kind, share and find some things to laugh about…take a nap…wear your mask…get vaccinated and boosted …we are all in this big primordial bowl of life together.

Other chili recipes I have posted in the past: “Snow Day in Nashville….Black Bean Mole Chili…”

Black Bean Chili for a Winter Day and Gruyere Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (optional for you vegetarians)
  • lots of Rancho Gordo Chile Powder
  • 3 tablespoon dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon ground cumin, to taste
  • 1 cup strong brewed black coffee (can use leftover from your morning cup)
  • 2 cans black beans, drained (add an extra if you are making vegetarian version)
  • 1 large can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Cornbread – Recipe for “Black Skillet Cornbread” from Anne Byrn’s cookbook “Skillet Love” with a few things added in by me.

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease or veg oil
  • 1 3/4 cups self-rising white cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup veg oil
  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat buttermilk (or mix plain yogurt with milk if you do not have buttermilk)
  • 1-4 tablespoons water (optional
  • 1 generous tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese (could use Swiss or White Cheddar in a pinch)

Directions:

  1. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil in a pot over medium high heat until slightly translucent. Add in ground beef and brown, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks.
  2. Sprinkle chile powder, cocoa powder and cumin over browned meat and stir to blend well. Cook another few minutes while stirring.
  3. Add coffee, black beans and tomatoes to the pot along with 4 cups water. Bring chili to a boil, turn heat to simmer and cook for about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. While chili is simmering make the cornbread. Put bacon grease or veg oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet (I used a 10 inch which works fine) and place in cold oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Whisk together the cornmeal and flour in a bowl. Stir in the oil and buttermilk. Add a bit of water if it seems too thick.
  6. Add the black pepper, thyme and shredded Gruyere, stirring to blend well.
  7. When oven is preheated, remove the skillet and pour in the cornbread batter. The batter should sizzle. Return skillet to the oven and bake until the cornbread is dark brown, 12 to 17 minutes. At this point I pull the skillet from the oven and turn cornbread out onto a plate, flipping the bottom side to the top and put it back into the hot skillet, returning to the oven for another 5 minutes so the cornbread is crispy on both sides.
  8. After I pull the cornbread from oven I leave the skillet on top of the stove to keep warm until ready to eat. Turn cornbread out onto a cutting board, bottom-side up and cut into wedges or squares.
  9. Serve chili in bowl with pieces of cornbread, and if you like it hotter than hell have some bottles of hot sauce at the ready. Bon Apetit and stay cozy.

teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Snow Day In Nashvlle Black Bean Mole Chili with Coconut Cornbread

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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.

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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.

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

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Black Bean Mole Chili

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

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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

Directions:

  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

Directions:

  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     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com     http://www.foodonfifth.com