So I’m back in Mexico City for work. I’ve been here on and off for the better part of this year and this is probably my last trip. When I go away I always like to leave some good food behind for my husband. It’s part guilt and part I don’t want him ordering takeout every night for three weeks, even though he’s more than capable of cooking for himself. I usually make some version of this chili, which lasts him a week and takes me about 20 minute to prepare. But this. This is not just any chili. It’s so easy that I never really thought to post it, yet so flavorful because it draws distinctly from the Mexican flavor palette with which I’ve become so smitten. I drew from the moles of Puebla and added cocoa powder this time, adding a full tablespoon and a half, which creates a warm, rich undertone to this otherwise spicy, smoky, classic. I promise you that it does not taste sweet at all. It brings the depth of dark chocolate, without anything that would conspire to ruin a savory dish. This is not a true mole, which has so many ingredients and takes a while to make. This is mole 101.
Let me tell you what I love about Mexico City. I was walking down the street last night and I walked past a grey velvet curtain hanging in the doorway of a brick building. Like, instead of a door, there was a curtain. Me being me, I pulled it open and found the coolest little mezcaleria in town. I’m not even sure this place had a name, but it was cool, almost hipster. I went in and had two mezcals with spiced oranges and dried raw garlic. So. Good. There is something magical about walking down a broken street, drunk on the warm weather and the mezcal and knowing this life is just as real as the life you have at home, but not. How do you long for home and rejoice about where you are at the same time? So tough, this being human thing. This week I plan to expand a bit beyond the Distrito Federal proper and into some of the smaller towns nearby. You can follow along on my Instagram. I’m going back to Coyoacan to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul so I can post Frida’s mole recipe that they still have hanging outside of her kitchen. I was shy the first time. Now I’m ready to be dragged out by the police for taking an illegal photo. Keep your eye out for it tomorrow night. I’ll fight for a pic of that kitchen to share and that recipe. Just you wait.
But back to this mole’d version of chili. It’s probably a 3:1 ratio of beans to chili, but with onions, garlic, peppers, jalapenos, cocoa powder, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cumin, chipotle and anything else you may want to add for flavor. You can use dried chilis instead of powdered if you soak them and then blend them in a food processor. It adds an element of smokiness that may just throw this over the edge. I serve it with lime and cilantro. Bursting with flavor and easy to prepare, I thought it only fitting to share this while I’m here in Mexico. Enjoy the weekend and seriously, make this. It’s fast and so flavorful. Buen provecho!
EASY BLACK BEAN MOLE CHILI
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (or whole peeled tomatoes that you smush with your hands)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 stalk (rib) of celery, diced
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced (less if you don’t like spice, more if you do)
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1-2 tsp crushed red chili pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (more for extra spice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Brown the turkey, onions and garlic together in a large pot over medium heat. Once cooked through, go ahead and add everything else into the pot. Definitely feel free to adjust spicing or peppers to taste, especially after allowing it to simmer for some time.
Let simmer on medium-low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, or until flavors blend together. Serve with green onions, cilantro, cotija cheese (or any cheese of your choice), and more jalapenos if you like. This really is something special.