jump to content immediately

most of all, the food

September 13 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Soup » 30 comments


I am no great football fan.  I lose interest in the days between the weekly games; I waver in my allegiance to my childhood hometown team and my current hometown team (a transition that amounts to treason, depending on who you ask); and a conversation about the various positions usually sounds more like a discussion about pocket change than a starting line-up to me. 


There are other things about the game, though, that I do love: the excitement (running errands this morning, I saw no fewer than two dozen Bears jersey-clad Chicagoans, all before the hour of 10 am; kick-off, it should be noted, is 7 pm); sunshiney afternoons on the couch; and, most of all, the food.


There are chicken wings, guacamole, nachos, sandwiches of all kinds.  But the best football food of all is chili.  A football Sunday isn’t complete without a big pot full of spicy, burbling, delicious chili.  And I’ve settled on my go-to recipe this season.  It’s a vegetarian version that gets a deep, earthy flavor thanks to a heap of spices and a palmful of instant espresso—and I think it deserves a spot on the menu for your next Football Sunday. (Or Football Monday, or Thursday, or College Game Day Saturday, as it were.  Not that I’m counting.)

Black Bean & Espresso Chili
Bon Appetit

1/2 cup olive oil
5 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup dried oregano leaves
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/3 cup honey
6 large garlic cloves, minced
7 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or chili powder
Large pinch of ground cinnamon

Assorted toppings: sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, shredded cheese, sliced jalapeños, and shaved bittersweet chocolate

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in espresso powder, 1/4 cup chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook 1 minute. Mix in tomatoes, honey, and garlic. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Add beans, 2 cups 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. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)

Place toppings in individual condiment bowls. Ladle chili into bowl and serve toppings alongside.

30 comments so far. »
| Leave a Reply
  1. Kelly says on September 13 2009 at 3:15 pm:

    Bears fans here. But living in Nebraska. My husband will sport the shirt. I am making the chili. I do love a football Sunday.

  2. Whitney says on September 13 2009 at 3:39 pm:

    Espresso in chili, I am intrigued. I am more of a college football fan but I am so excited that it is back.

  3. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says on September 13 2009 at 3:40 pm:

    I’m not a huge chili fan, but that is one chili I would eat.

  4. RonnisSweetTooth says on September 13 2009 at 3:58 pm:

    You had me at ‘vegetarian version.’ I can’t wait to make this.

  5. Amanda says on September 13 2009 at 5:26 pm:

    Screw football, I am all about the food! Haha, I will probably get in lots of trouble by saying that but it’s true. My favorite thing is chili, and the football season gives me plenty of reason to ladle endless bowls of chili. With cornbread, of course! The espresso intrigues me. What kind of flavor did it give to the chili? Is it like chocolate? You can’t taste it, but it enhances to spice….

  6. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction says on September 13 2009 at 7:16 pm:

    Sounds perfect for football season… I think my hubby would like this. I’m intrigued by the espresso!

  7. Romaine of www.salad-in-a-jar.com says on September 14 2009 at 4:01 am:

    The espresso peaks my interest also. I just did a post about my love for instant espresso. Use it in desserts mostly but will try this out for sure.

  8. Eliana says on September 14 2009 at 11:26 am:

    I’m right there with you. I could care less about the game but I’m all about football food. Your chilli looks superb.

  9. Elizabeth says on September 14 2009 at 11:27 am:

    This looks amazing! I’ll bet the espresso adds great complexity and depth of flavor. I’ve been searching for a good vegetarian chili to enjoy this season and I think this may be it.

    I do not, however, share your enthusiasm for football. I go to UC Berkeley (and I think am one of, like, 7 students who could care less about the California Bears) and game days drive me crazy! Berkeley is accosted by gaping tourists in school colors, frat row becomes a cesspool of cheap beer and bad rap music, and absolutely every parking spot within a 5 mile radius of the stadium is taken. I appreciate your positive outlook, though, and maybe with football food like this I’ll be less of a cynic!

  10. Sam@BingeNYC says on September 14 2009 at 12:21 pm:

    Wow. This sounds awesome. The espresso/black bean combo? Yeah, I’m just about ready to run to the store and make this NOW. Yum!

  11. Mike says on September 14 2009 at 3:51 pm:

    Wow. I can’t believe that’s vegetarian; it looks so hearty and delicious. I’ll definitely be trying it out come the rainy season.

  12. Emily says on September 14 2009 at 5:15 pm:

    I’m so excited to see this recipe… I have a giant pot calling out for chili. I can’t wait for those true fall Sundays.

  13. anna says on September 14 2009 at 9:22 pm:

    lovely, lovely top-down photograph. I mess around with that too — http://www.shoeyorkcity.com. cheers.

  14. Cookin' Canuck says on September 15 2009 at 5:36 am:

    This looks rich, comforting, and absolutely perfect for an afternoon of watching football. The espresso and black bean combination is a great idea!

  15. annie says on September 15 2009 at 6:44 am:

    I feel the same way about football…and being in a football crazed state doesn’t help! But chili does. I’m making this next weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  16. maggie says on September 15 2009 at 9:14 am:

    Did the espresso keep you up that night? Looks delicious.

  17. treehouse Chef says on September 15 2009 at 11:54 am:

    This looks so yummy! That is alot of expreso I can’t imagine the taste but I am excited about testing it. Thanks for sharing!

  18. tara says on September 15 2009 at 12:14 pm:

    Oh my friend, come sit by me. My husband adores football, while I consider Game Days as excuses to cook.

    There is almost always a bit of bitter chocolate or cocoa powder in my chili, but I’ve never tried espresso. That’ll change come one of these Sundays. Yours looks delicious.

  19. Fie says on September 15 2009 at 1:32 pm:

    Hi Kristin. This being my first time ever commenting on a blog – though I read a lot of them – I simply had to comment on this amazing chili recipe. Just made it this evening with a few minor changes because of the limitations of Danish grocery stores and it was awesome! It completely satisfied my craving for an authentic chili. So thank you; it made my night. Next time I’ll have to serve it to my football loving family.
    Thank you for a lovely blog!

  20. Jen @ MaplenCornbread says on September 16 2009 at 4:13 am:

    Im not a football fan either really.. growing up we didnt really have football where Im from. It was hockey or figure skating. When I moved South I had to learn how football was at least played so I wouldnt seem too left out… I still dont get it!! Anyways my favorite part of games? TAILGATING and the food!! :) of course. and this chili looks amazing!!! Im saving this recipe, perfect to carry along!

  21. Barbara says on September 16 2009 at 12:04 pm:

    Espresso in chili? I bet it gives great depth of flavor. It looks dark and delicious.

  22. maris says on September 16 2009 at 7:29 pm:

    Chili is my favorite reason to watch football!

  23. Alisa says on September 17 2009 at 11:17 am:

    This recipe looks so good. I also like chocolate in my chili, as per Nigella’s recipe. Hooray for fall!

  24. Hannah says on September 17 2009 at 12:50 pm:

    the espresso/black bean pairing has me curious. i may have to try this soon.

  25. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on September 17 2009 at 1:07 pm:

    I’m so glad you all are as open to the meat-free, espresso-spiked chili as I was. It might sound a little strange, but it delivers a lovely depth and darkness and dimension. I hope you guys give it a try. And, to those who asked, no — there isn’t an “espresso taste” to the chili.

    Maggie: I’m pretty caffeine immune, but you could always use decaf if you’re concerned. Some of the Epicurious commenters mentioned that they had an issue with the caffeine.

  26. Micah says on September 17 2009 at 3:00 pm:

    How dare you question your home-state allegiances! I will promptly inform every Minnesotan that we collectively know of this travesty (as well as your website – which is fantastic).

    AV represent.

  27. BigGirlPhoebz says on October 07 2009 at 9:57 pm:

    this looks so dark and decadent. My friend puts several different types of alcohol and coffee in his chili and it is a blast of flavor. Yours looks to be a more balanced version of this, and I can’t wait to try it. thanks!

  28. Jenny Morber says on October 08 2009 at 5:05 pm:

    I just made this chili tonight. It is SO good – even if I didn’t have all the herbs I thought I did, even though I got distracted and almost burned the onions, and even though I accidentally put in way to much cinnamon. So I can only guess at how incredible it is when you actually follow the recipe.

    Thank you!

  29. Dawn says on November 16 2009 at 1:33 pm:

    This chili recipe is fabulous! The espresso and cinnamon combo adds richness and depth to the chili; don’t let these ingredients dissuade you.

  30. Elizabeth says on January 16 2012 at 9:28 pm:

    Just made this tonight. AMAZING. Probably the best chili I’ve ever had! Thanks so much for sharing,

Your Reply:


required (Will Not be Shown)

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Trackback this Article  |  Subsribe to Comments