Spicy Black Bean Chili

Spicy Black Bean Chili


  • 1/3 pound sliced bacon, diced
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes, patted dry, seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño chiles, roasted or not, seeded and chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 to 4 chipotle chilis in adobo, minced
  • 14 1/2-ounce can beef broth
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large 28- to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand or blender
  • 3 to 4 (15-ounce) cans black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained or about 2/3 a pound dried black or pinto beans, cooked (see note)
  • desired ccompaniments: reserved bacon, chopped red onion, fresh cilantro, diced avocado, lime wedges, cheese, sour cream, and/or tortilla chips


Cook bacon in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring now and then until crisp. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Crumble bacon and refrigerate until needed for garnish.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot; add a little oil if there aren’t 2 tablespoons. Brown pork in without crowding, working in batches if necessary. As each batch is done, transfer to a plate.

Add the additional 2 tablespoons oil, when heated add onion and jalapeños and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.

As onions cook, in a small bowl, mix chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. After garlic has become fragrant, push the mixture aside and add spices to the pot. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds to bloom spices. Immediately, working quickly so as not to burn spices, add the broth, coffee & water or beer, the minced chilis in adobo sauce, the tomatoes with their juices and stir. Add the reserved pork back in along with any accumulated juices.

Gently simmer chili, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until pork is very tender but not falling apart, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir in beans and bring to a simmer, stirring. Simmer about 20 minutes to heat the beans through and blend flavors, stirring as needed.

Serve chili with reserved bacon and other desired accompaniments.

Cooks’ notes:
  • The amount of beans can vary depending on personal taste. Feel free to add more or less depending on how chunky you desire our chili to be. If cooking dried black beans, you may not need the full amount; any remainder may be frozen in enough of the bean cooking water to cover.
  • Chili may be made 2 days ahead, cooled completely in a shallow container (or two if necessary) then covered. Add a little water if needed while reheating.
  • The chili is a bit intense when first cooked; the second day it rounds out in flavor and some of the spiciness dissipates.

Keywords: Alcohol, Beans, Beef Stock, Beer, black beans, canned tomatoes, Chili, Chipotle, Coffee, Hot Peppers, Jalapeno, Mexican or Southwestern, Pork Shoulder Recipe, Soup, Tomatoes

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