Last time I made a meal Levi was skeptical about that turned out well, he made a bold promise “never to doubt my culinary abilities again.” That night I had gotten a little crazy and made lasagna with a pumpkin butternut sauce in place of tomato. He didn’t stick to that promise long, though, because tonight he made a very familiar grimace when he was pawing through our grocery bags asking “WHAT’S FOR DINNER??” and the response was “chili with espresso in it.”
A quick sidetrack about grocery bags and shout-out to my mom, these Baggu bags she wrapped our Christmas presents in are awesome. They fold up into their own tiny little pockets, and now go with us everywhere and therefore we always have bags at the grocery store!
Despite Levi’s lofty promise, I can’t blame him because I was not so sure about this recipe either. A few days ago I told Jess I felt a soup kick coming on. Like everyone else, we don’t cook enough around here but when I get fixated on something, I tend to be very productive in the kitchen. Sometimes I just feel like making soups, stews, and chili for weeks on end. So today we picked out a bunch of recipes and made a list and went shopping. This was our idea of fun for the one weekend day we all had together. Okay, honestly we wanted to take a trip to Seattle and go to Gameworks until I remembered that I was on call. But this was fun.
This one recipe was really calling me: Black Bean and Espresso Chili. But it wasn’t just the idea of putting espresso in chili that made me so skeptical. The recipe called for what seemed like insane quantities of ingredients. A quarter cup of espresso powder? Seven cans of black beans? A quarter cup of cumin? I stared at my computer screen for a ridiculous amount of time and read like four pages of reviews on Epicurious. Finally I just decided it was a double batch of chili, and we could halve it and no big thang if we end up throwing it out. Best decision of the day.
If you like the flavors of mole, make this chili. You absolutely HAVE TO put the bittersweet chocolate on top. We grabbed a $2.49 bar of chocolate with 88% cacao content and put a generous sprinkling on top. It melted into the chili, oh my god. I think the green onions were a perfect topping, too.
And no huge surprise here, Levi gave it ten (out of ten – it’s his rating system) stars and dubbed it “Baller’s Chili.” The ingredients weren’t expensive, but the espresso and chocolate made it the richest chili I’ve ever tasted. Trust Levi, he has excellent taste in food and is wise for his years. He’s so wise he insisted we spend some quality family time afterward watching something as a family to end the weekend with some fun. He picked Mystery Science Theater 3000: Zombie Nightmare. I was skeptical, but he nailed it. Hilarious!
Oh, and by the way we also reduced the oil in the chili recipe significantly.