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“Red Beans look like red eyes which is what you’ll have with caffeine from strong coffee and unsweetened chocolate to balance the fresh and dried chilies and slightly sweet, thick gravy.”


  • 2 to 3 red New Mexican or Guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 Ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound coarsely ground beef chuck from the butcher counter
  • 1 pound coarsely ground pork loin or shoulder from the butcher counter
  • Salt and coarse black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 red sweet/bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (half a scant palmful) each dry oregano, cumin and coriander
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cup brewed strong coffee
  • 1 14- to 18-ounce can red beans, drained
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, grated
  • Chopped white onions, rinsed, to garnish
  • Cilantro leaves, optional
  • Small wedges of lime


Serves: 4 to 6 servings


In a small to medium saucepot, toast the dried chilies over medium-high heat. Add stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let chilies plump until soft. Purée in a food processor and reserve.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon oil, 1 turn of the pan. Pat beef dry, add to pan and brown. Season with salt and pepper, and remove to a plate. Repeat the process with the pork. Add the last tablespoon of oil and the onions, chopped peppers, garlic, salt and pepper, and stir to soften 3 minutes. Add dry spices and stir to toast 1 minute. Add honey, bay and coffee, stir to loosen spices, then add chili-infused stock and the chili purée, the reserved beef and pork, beans, cornmeal and chocolate. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes. If chili gets too thick, thin it out with extra stock or water.

Serve chili with side of cornbread or corn tortilla chips topped with chopped onions and cilantro, if using, and small wedges of lime. Pass hot sauce of choice at the table.