Cinnamon-Spiked Red Chili

Summary: A super-flavorful red chili scented with cinnamon, chock full of beans and easy to make with a number of pantry staples.

Yield: serves 8


  • 1½ cups dried garbanzo beans
  • 1 dried New Mexico chile pod (about 0.3 ounces)
  • 3 dried, chili de arbol pods
  • 1½ tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 onions, chopped (I used one yellow onion and one sweet onion)
  • 7 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 smallish cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • one 14.5-ounce can organic, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • juice of ½ lime
  • one 15-ounce can organic black beans, undrained
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder


The night before you make this chili, put the garbanzo beans in a pot and cover by an inch with cold water. Cover and leave to rest overnight. The next morning, drain and cover with fresh water until you're ready to use them.

When you're ready to make the chili, boil two cups of water. While that's heating, remove the seeds and stems from your chiles and toast them in a small skillet. When they're toasty but not at all burned, plunge them into the boiling water and set aside while you ready the other spices and the veggie base.

Heat the canola oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. When it's hot, add the minced garlic and chopped onions, turn the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are looking soft and translucent. Try not to let the garlic brown much.

In the meantime, heat a small-medium skillet over medium-high heat and toast the cumin and coriander seeds and the cinnamon stick until fragrant and browned. Don't let them burn. Remove the skillet from heat once things are nicely toasted, and when it's cooled down some, remove the cinnamon stick and set aside. Funnel the cumin and coriander seeds into a spice grinder (or mortar and pestle) and coarsely grind. Reserve.

To the onion-garlic mixture, add the can of tomatoes with their juices, the ground cumin and coriander, the lime juice, chili powder and salt. Using a microplane or the like, grate half of the toasted cinnamon stick into the pot. Put the other half in whole.

Using an immersion blender (or a blender), fully blend the now-soft peppers in the water in which they've been soaking. Add this (the water-pepper mix) to the soup pot.

Add the black beans and the chicken broth. Stir to make sure everything is well combined and let cook for a while over medium heat.

Meanwhile, set the garbanzo beans to a boil in the water in which they've been soaking. Once boiling, cook for 5-10 minutes, test for doneness (not mushy but not too al dente), drain and add to the chili. Sprinkle the cocoa powder over everything, stir to combine well and cook for at least 20 more minutes on medium or medium-low heat.

Serve with any/all of sour cream or Greek yogurt, lime wedges, avocado chunks, chopped scallions.