Well the black bean and espresso chili didn’t win last week at FedUp’s Chili Cook Off but that’s okay! There was some pretty tough competition. Raw uncooked chili, chili with mangoes in it. Really creative stuff. Nearly a hundred people walked through the doors of the Workers Action Centre in downtown Windsor, taste tested 9 different vegetarian chilis and voted for their favourites in 3 categories.

FedUp Chili Cookoff
FedUp Chili Cookoff

So here is the list of winners:

1st for Best Overall: Pride & Joy made by Paul Mann
1st for Most Radical: Hot, Sweet n Blonde made by Merry Ellen Scully Mosna
1st for Spiciest:Hot, Sweet n Blonde made by Merry Ellen Scully Mosna

In the spirit of sportsmanship, since Merry Ellen won both Most Radical and Spiciest, FedUp decided to award the prize of Spiciest to Greenie’s 5 Bean and Pepper Screeched In Chili made by Kelly Greenfield.

So how was the black bean and espresso chili? I think it turned out quite well thank you. I even heard people comment on how tasty it was. The original recipe came from Epicurious.com but was modified over time. You can definitely change up the ingredients by adding an additional bean or even corn. I was pretty impressed when I first tried this recipe out. It’s got a great complexity of flavours in it and is just as hearty as meaty chilis.

Black Bean and Espresso Chili
Black Bean and Espresso Chili

Black Bean and Espresso Chili
adapted from Epicurious.com

1/2 cup olive oil or just enough to sauté the onions
5 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup ground espresso/coffee beans
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

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in espresso, 1/4 cup chili powder, cumin, and oregano. At this point the mixture becomes really dark from the espresso.

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.