Beans In Dry Chilies with Chocolate By Mark Graham

I have the luxury of cooking alongside several of my Latina friends who are amazing cooks.  This recipe is a tribute to them and the informal education I have received as a result of sharing meals together.  I like to serve these beans with corn tortillas, guacamole, and a simple salad of shaved red cabbage dressed in lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.


  • 1 pound kidney beans, rinsed and picked through*
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided use
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dry guajillo chili pepper, seeds and stems removed, torn into small pieces
  • 1 dry pasilla chili, seeds and stems removed, torn into small pieces
  • 1 dry ancho chili, seeds and stems removed, torn into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, seeded, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves removed from the stems, stems discarded (or 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano)
  • ½ cup dry red wine, beer, or water
  • ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Garnish
  • 3 scallions, very thinly sliced on the bias
  • ½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped


  1. Stir together the beans, water, 1 teaspoon of the salt, baking soda, and bay leaves in the bottom of a 4-quart pressure cooker. Place a metal trivet atop the beans.

  2. Toss together the torn chili peppers, garlic, shallot, tomatoes, oregano, and wine in a small oven-proof bowl. Place this bowl on the trivet and close the pressure cooker.

  3. Cook over high heat until high pressure is reached, and the steam is escaping in short bursts that are about 10-seconds apart, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, allowing steam to escape in short bursts that are about 10-20 seconds apart, until the beans are tender, about 50 minutes

  4. Release pressure following your manufacturer’s directions for “fast release” (my pressure cooker’s instructions are to carefully place the pressure cooker in the sink and allow cold water to run across the pot until the pressure eases – takes a few seconds).

  5. Check that the beans are tender; if not, return to pressure and cook another 5 minutes, releasing pressure as indicated above.
    Carefully remove the oven-proof bowl, and transfer contents to a blender.

  6. Carefully blend the hot liquid until smooth on very low speed and add the chocolate and remaining teaspoon salt.

  7. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is slightly thickened. Drain the beans of half their cooking liquid, remove bay leaves, and stir in the puree. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with freshly chopped scallions and cilantro.

*I always rinse my beans before cooking and pick through them to remove any stones or beans that are broken. 

See who’s putting #beansonthemenu