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A Favorite Cold Day Meal: Chili With Coffee

November 28, 2011

It has been uncommonly mild for November here and it’s been really really lovely. I especially appreciate it when I take Halo for his morning walks and I don’t have to brace myself against the cold but can instead relax and just enjoy the walk. Still, there is a part of me that can’t wait for snow and having to bundle up! (Kinda weird, but true.)

I love making a big pot of chili when the weather gets colder. There is one recipe that I use most often, it’s super flavorful and I love that there is coffee in it which adds intriguing flavor notes.

I got a mix of baby bell peppers at the grocery store and used those instead of big peppers. It all starts off with lots of chopping. Chopping veggies can be a bit boring but I find it the perfect way to clear my mind and it can be quite calming when you get into a groove! Just put on some good tunes and chop away. Pause to dance in your kitchen when a good song comes along. Then get right back to chopping – this chili isn’t gonna make itself!

Chop up two bell peppers or the equivalent of two big ones if you use tiny ones (although I like to use more).

Also chop up an onion, 3 garlic cloves and a hot pepper (my recipe specifies jalapeno, but here I used fresh cayenne peppers from my garden).

Put 1 1/2 pound of meat (I used beef, but you can also do a beef/pork mix) in a pot and prod and push around until it browns, about 5 minutes. Then add the chopped veggies and keep stirring until they soften and start to smell delicious.

Add spices: 1/4 cup chili powder, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cayenne and 2 bay leaves. So much yummy flavor! I love the colors too. Bonus: This is where it starts to smell ah-ma-zing!

Add two cans of diced tomatoes.

Now for the secret ingredient: Strong coffee, about 1 1/2 cup of it. Also add 2 tbsp cider vinegar. I don’t always add the vinegar because for some reason I often forget and it still tastes great without it, but it does add a nice tangy note.

Cook for about 1 hour. Then add a tin of kidney beans. (Or whatever beans you like, chili is nothing if not forgiving. Here, I used black beans because that’s what I had, I do prefer kidney beans though.)

Cook until the beans are heated through (about 20 minutes). And there you have your big pot of chili that will warm you bones and put a spring in your step! (The latter due to the caffeine.)

And here’s the short version:

Coffee Chili

From the Toronto Star, which was an adapted recipe from Van Houtte Cafe recipe.

1tbsp oil
1 1/2 lean ground beef
1 onion
1 each: red bell pepper + green bell pepper, seeded + chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp each: dried oregano, ground cumin
1 tsp salt (or more/less to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 bay leaves
2 28 oz (795 ml) cans diced plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dark roast coffee
2 tbsp cider vinegar
19 oz (540 ml) can kidney beans, drained + rinsed

Optional toppings: Chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped avocado, hot sauce


Heat oil in large wide pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add beef and pork. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up, until meat starts to brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in onion, peppers, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, 1 tsp salt, cinnamon, cayenne and bay leaves. Cook stirring frequently, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and their juices, coffee and vinegar. Increase heat to medium/high and medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Stir in beans, cook 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaves. Adjust salt. Serve with toppings if you like.

Makes about 10 cups.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2011 2:27 pm

    Jadyn, I am going to try this….although, 1/4 cup chili powder sounds like a lot?

    • November 30, 2011 12:19 am

      I double-checked the recipe to make sure and it’s definitely 1/4 cup. It does sound like a lot but I promise it doesn’t taste overly spicy! Just make sure it’s mild chili powder so it just adds flavor and no heat. :)

  2. November 29, 2011 4:45 pm

    That looks so yummy! I love warm food on cold days.

  3. November 29, 2011 9:09 pm

    Chili is always the first thing I crave when the temperatures drop. This looks super delicious!

  4. November 30, 2011 7:32 pm

    wow! coffee?!? I would have never thought! I use red wine as my “secret ingredient” and I love it! chili is so yummy!
    hope all is well and wishing you a wonderful December! xox

  5. December 1, 2011 2:23 am

    This is what I am going to cook for tonight, I was short of ideas, thanks a lot!


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