Black Bean Tomatillo Chili

January 31, 2012
8 Ratings
  • Makes A large bowl full
Author Notes

This recipe is basically a walk down memory lane for me. I worked in El Teddy's back in the day. As I chopped the pasillos, chipotles in adobe and browned the ancho chilies my mind was flooded with memories of Romero, the sous chef at El Teddy's, the kindest and most talented maker of sauces and a lover of chilis. He introduced me to a new and wonderful world of capsicums.

The good thing about this recipe is you can make the black beans or buy a can. You can chop and cook the tomatillos or buy a can and dump into the mixture. The meat component is up to you, add your favorite, or go wild and add lamb, bison whatever. —Judy at My Well Seasoned Life

Test Kitchen Notes

Tomatillos, black beans, and hot peppers are some of my favorite foods, and here they are all in one place. I used canned tomatillos rather than fresh, for the meat I used ground bison, and for the beer a local pale ale. Yes, the tomatillos are nicely tart, the variety of chilis is brilliant, the beer a deep flavor. But the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Judy's recipe sings capsicums' praises right out loud. —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 pound dried black beans or large can (19 oz) of prepared black beans
  • 6 whole dried chili arbol pods stems and seeds removed. Wear gloves
  • 12 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 pounds tomatillos chopped in eighths
  • 1 tablespoon strong instant coffee
  • 2 pasillo peppers or peppers of your choice
  • 2-4 chipotle chilies in adobo chopped finely or pureed in blender. This will depend on how hot and smoky you want your chili
  • 4-8 pieces of jalapeno peppers in brine finely chopped. Once again it's up to you for the heat level
  • 1 splash of olive oil
  • 1 bottle of dark beer or any beer you might have in refrigerator
  • 1 pound Ground turkey or ground meat of your choice
  1. Black Bean Option One--Soak dried black beans over night. The next day cook beans with large chopped onion, 8 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of instant coffee, 2 oz mexican chocolate, a stick of cinnamon, with water that is about an inch over the beans cook until done. Ruth Reichl says to add salt when the beans are cooked. I listen to Ruth. Option Two--buy a 19 oz can of black beans. Add dash of cinnamon, chocolate and extra coffee to chili.
  2. Heat a medium fry pan till it's hot. Add the six chili arbol pods. Brown on each side. Please wear gloves while handling. Cool pods and grind.
  3. In pan that you used for chilis, brown the ground turkey that has been seasoned with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a large stew pot. And splash of olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Once the oil starts to dance add onions and garlic. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add cumin, ground chili arbol start with a teaspoon and add more if needed, chopped chipotles (start with two and taste). Stir. Cook for two minutes. Add beer. Bring to boil. Add instant coffee.
  6. Add chopped tomatillos and cooked ground turkey. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Add jalapenos. Start with a few and adjust as you go. Reduce heat and cook until tomatillos begin to soften. Taste for heat, balance of peppers, salt and pepper.
  7. If using canned beans: rinse and drain black beans. Add to pot. If you chose to cook your own add about half the amount that you cooked. The other half can be frozen. Cook for another 15 minutes. Taste, adjust. Eat.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Iris A. Brown
    Iris A. Brown
  • Judy at My Well Seasoned Life
    Judy at My Well Seasoned Life
  • fearlessem

3 Reviews

Iris A. September 26, 2019
Hi Judy--I just made this, tastes yummy. My only confusion is the 2 pasillo peppers in the ingredients list—I did not come across their use in the directions. Also, did you mean pasilla peppers? If so, are they fresh, or dried? Should they be reconstituted if the latter?
Judy A. February 9, 2012

You are absolutely correct. Thanks for pointing this out. I will change the recipe.
fearlessem February 9, 2012
Hi Judy -- Want to make this recipe (sounds great!), but I have one question... You say a large can of black beans and then specify 19 ounces... In my experience, beans come in basically 15 ounce cans and then larger 1 Pound 13 ounce cans (equivalent of 29 ounces). I'm guessing that the latter is what you mean?