Lafd Engine Co. No. 28's Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

READY IN: 1hr 35mins
Recipe by lynnski LA

Engine Co. No. 28, is a popular L.A. restaurant located in an historic building, which was constructed in 1912 as a Los Angeles Fire Department firehouse, which housed 2 engine companies. In 1912 LA's population was 400,000; and New Mexico and Arizona were being admitted into the Union. A trip to the restaurant, established in the 1980's has been called a "a big hug from America"; it serves American favorites and some history. Some cooking notes: although you can use canned beans equalling 4 cups, the restaurant uses dried beans starting with a one pound package which will yield about 4 cups of cooked beans. This chili is best when made one day in advance. The flavors develop better. When reheating, add water if necessary and heat slowly to avoid scorching. The recipe had been published in the Los Angeles Times, reader request column.

Top Review by Dr. Jenny

Wow! This chili is fantastic! In fact, DH declared multiple times that this is his favorite vegetarian chili that he has tried so far on That means this will be our new go-to chili recipe. We liked it so much yesterday for dinner that it was hard to say whether leftovers today for lunch were even better. Like another reviewer, I used 3 15-oz cans of black beans. The only modifications we made were to sub a New Mexico chili for the ancho (internet said this was an acceptable substitute) since we did not have ancho on hand and I omitted the sour cream/creme fraiche as I don't like sour cream on any of my chilis. We topped with sharp cheddar which was a great compliment. Also, when it came time to make the paste, the consistency was not paste-like, so we roasted two more chilis and added them to the blender. The consistency still did not look like paste, but this did not affect the overall consistency of the chili. In fact, I think we rather enjoyed double the roasted peppers and I will probably use 4 again next time I make this (it's possible maybe my dried chiles were just smaller than average, I don't know). Thanks for a really great chili recipe. Made for Sun and Spice 2013.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Roast dried ancho and guajillo chiles on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for about 4 minutes to release their oils.
  2. Place in a blender with 3/4 cups hot water and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then puree; add more water if necessary to make a paste; reserve.
  3. Heat a small heavy skillet over medium heat; and add cumin seeds, stirring until they begin to color.
  4. Stir in oregano leaves, shaking pan frequently so herbs don't burn.
  5. When aroma is strong, remove pan from heat and add paprika and cayenne, stir.
  6. Place mixture in a blender and grind into a coarse powder, set aside.
  7. Heat olive oil in a 6 quart soup pot, over medium heat.
  8. Add and saute onions until tender, add garlic, ground spice mixture, salt and 1/2 ancho and guajillo chile paste and cook 5 minutes.
  9. Add tomatoes, juice and about 1 teaspoon chipotle chile.
  10. Simmer 15 minutes, add cooked black beans and cooking water and cook 10 minutes.
  11. Adjust chiles and salt to taste; add vinegar and chopped cilantro, cook 5 minutes longer.
  12. Adjust seasonings to taste one last time, and serve.
  13. Serve with bowls of chopped green onions, cheddar cheese, creme fraich and cilantro leaves.

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