Friday, March 25, 2022

Simply Smoky Chilli

This Smoky vegetarian Chilli con Carne recipe has a secret ingredient, which you can't taste at the end, but is essential for the smoky flavour, along with the herbs and spices of course. The secret ingredient is espresso coffee. Mr. HRK imports green coffee beans through an Australian supplier, and then roasts them himself on an apparatus he designed to work in our outside Barbecue. Ingenious! When he is roasting the coffee beans, the aroma is intoxicating. The roasted beans then need to degas for a couple of days, if we can wait that long, although we always try to have  some roasted beans as a reserve. These coffee  beans are from Ethiopia, so the espresso coffee I was able to use for this recipe is full of flavour. 

There has been lots of publicity lately that the cost of coffee is set to rise astronomically, and when we were travelling recently we were very surprised at how a small cup of coffee can now cost up to $5.00 at some venues. At home, we rarely go out for coffee, so this isn't affecting us, except if perhaps I catch up with a friend for a coffee. I am spoiled with a very good flat white coffee every morning at home by my barista, so why would we go out for coffee? It's interesting though that the cost of buying a kilo of green coffee beans has only risen about $3 a kilo for us in the last 6 months. So where is the real markup occurring?
This Chilli recipe came to the rescue during the week, it was the perfect quick and simple dish to make after a trying day. All the ingredients came out of the stockpile. I realised mid-morning that my Facebook account had been hacked, first time for me, but thankfully Facebook were right onto it and helped me through the steps to rectify it. This hacking seems to be rife, as I have had similar hack messages on Messenger before from other contacts and haven't opened them. I had received a message the day before from my cousin and thought it was legitimate, and when I opened it I had that sinking feeling and realised that I would probably be the next to be hacked, and I was. Lesson learned. Then we found out that Mr. HRK needs to have sinus surgery next week, so we are isolating, as Covid is still very active in the community, and if either of us catches it, although we are fully vaccinated, his surgery will be postponed for 8 weeks. Anyway, that's ok, as I have lots of cooking, reading, gardening, piano playing and other projects planned. Besides all of that my friends, we are so fortunate to be living where we live. Autumn has arrived, the weather is beautiful, and my orchids are bursting into flower.

This recipe will be perfect for Meat Free Monday. We ate ours during the week and it was really delicious.


1 tablespoon olive oil

 800 g canned tomatoes

800 g Black beans

2 spring onions

100 ml coffee espresso

1/2-1 teaspoon chilli powder

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1/2 finely chopped capsicum

1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli (optional)


Dice the onion and mince the garlic

Ask your barista nicely to make  the coffee

Cut the spring onion into rings

Chop the capsicum finely

Chop up any other vegetables you may be using

Let's cook:

Saute the onion in olive oil on a medium heat for 3 minutes

Add the cumin, chilli, paprika powder,  garlic and cook for about 3 minutes

Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, capsicum and the coffee and simmer for 15 minutes. At this stage I added the broccoli, just because I had a little left over from a previous dish, it added a touch of colour and extra nutrition. However this is optional.

Simmer the tomato sauce for at least 15 minutes so that all the flavours can infuse. A good tomato sauce takes time.

Add the black beans. I prefer to serve this kind of dish with cooked Australian bulgur wheat, full of flavour and fibre, which I now cook in the rice cooker.  I also love to add a dollop of sour cream, some grated cheese and chopped shallots. Or you can serve the chilli with rice or bread and spring onions.

Cook's Tips:

  • The black beans bring a rich, full-bodied and earthy flavour and are full of protein and fibre.
  • If you are sensitive to chilli, start with 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon in this recipe or even use a chopped fresh green or red chilli. Even without chilli, this dish is packed with flavour and very healthy for you.
  • This dish lends itself to adding other vegetables, such as precooked eggplant (aubergine), zucchini, or broccoli. the more vegetables the better.
  • Sour cream or even yoghurt is a perfect accompaniment to serve with this dish.

I have added my ideas to this recipe, but the credit for the original idea and recipe goes to the Danish Fork Ranger blog. You can also check him out on  the Arc 2030 website.

Warm wishes,



  1. This sounds really good. We are through having chili until late October or early November when the weather is cool again. I am going to bookmark this and try it then. Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much Anne, we are entering into cooler months here so chilli is perfect.

  2. It looks so GOOD and I love the idea of adding espresso in the chillie!

    1. Thanks so much Angie, coffee is such a versatile ingredient isn't it, and I also love to drink it:)

  3. I knew the secret ingredient would be coffee! That is ridiculous a cup of coffee costs $5. We can get 2 special coffees here for that amount and 3 espressos in Italy. Hope the sinus surgery goes smoothly.

  4. what a fab idea with the coffee. we use dark bitter cocoa powder in our chillies but i must try this! good luck to your hubster with his op. and what a clever fella roasting his own beans. cheers sherry

    1. Thanks Sherry, where would we be without coffee? He does a great job with roasting the beans.

  5. Kudos to Mr. HRK for roasting his own coffee! I've never done that -- sounds like fun. And what a neat secret ingredient! I've used coffee with chilies before, and although it's an unusual pairing, it's a good one. Great looking recipe -- thanks.

  6. Thanks KR, coffee is so versatile, and makes a delicious drink and cooking ingredient doesn't it. Mr. HRK takes a lot of pride in his coffee roasting, does a great job.

  7. Another winner! Being from the Southwest, I love all these flavors, and cannot wait to try it. Although, our weather is getting a bit warm… This might have to wait until autumn!

    1. Thanks David, it's warm for most of the year here, but we just plough on and eat chilli anyway in the cool of the evening. Enjoy your beautiful Spring and Summer.


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