Frank Davis


Hello Bushwick Daily readers, this is a new kind of column where we’ll be sharing recipes and locations in the coverage area where ingredients for those recipes are sourced. Send us recipes and photos of your tamales, fried rice, personal twists on cheeseburgers, sanchoco or any other dish that means something to you. 

Send photos as well! 

I love home cooking and believe there are quite a few Bushwick/Ridgewood people like me.  Bushwick Dinner Party aims to create a community of local cooks sharing their recipes. The ingredients for these meals must be affordable and available in the Bushwick/Ridgewood area. Each recipe will feature a different local home cook, the dish’s story and where you can buy the ingredients. I want to spotlight not only the array of home cooking in our area but also how easy and affordable it is to cook healthy meals.

If you are interested in sharing your recipe and home cooking story, please contact me at

To get things rolling, I am offering up my Black Bean Chili. I am a major chili freak. If I was thrown into a Chopped episode – regardless of the secret ingredients – I’d likely end up making a chili. This particular recipe dates back to my broke college years and holds a special place in my cookbook as my first original recipe. It has gone through many revisions over the years – starting out as more of a spicy vegetable stew – to reach this proper chili version.

I have been cooking some version of this chili for over 30 years. I made a batch of this for my engagement party. A couple decades later, I served a revised version at my anniversary party. When my wife and I opened a small BBQ joint in upstate NY, this was one of our few vegan/vegetarian options. While this recipe may not have the same emotional connection as one passed down through generations, it has been a large part of both my personal and professional life. I cook this chili far more often than any other in my cookbook – mostly because it is cheap, healthy and quick, but also because of my history and love of it.

This recipe makes a fairly large batch – especially when cooking for two. That’s great because it solves a few days worth of meals with one cook. This starts out as a bowl of chili with warmed tortillas. The next night, add some corn & cheese and roll it up into burritos. Finally, reheat the last of the leftovers – spoon it over tortilla chips – add cheese and jalapenos – and bake for quick nachos.

I buy my ingredients at three stores in the area. The Fine Fare on Myrtle is my usual stop when I just want to get my shopping done quickly. Their produce section is comparable in price and freshness to most of the area stores and can goods are reasonable. If I’m looking to stock up on can goods, nothing in the area beats Food Bazaar – choose either the Wyckoff or Myrtle locations. Bring a cart or a friend as you’ll be stocking up on some great multiple can sale pricing. They also have a large produce section though it tends to be a bit pricey. When it comes to my favorite produce market in Bushwick, there is only one choice: Angel’s Fruit Market on Knickerbocker. Great fresh produce, a killer selection of chiles and spices, solid prices and a great staff. No one does produce better in Bushwick.

Ingredients for a recent batch came to a total of $15.78 or about $2.00 per serving. I bought the black beans, tomatoes, vegetable stock, chipotle and tortillas at Fine Fine. The vegetables and spices came from Angel’s Fruit Market.


Makes 6-8 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 TBS olive oil

1 sweet onion, medium dice

2 red pepper, medium dice

2 poblano, medium dice

2 jalapeno, de-seeded and medium dice

4 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin

¼ tsp cayenne

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp Mexican oregano

2 chipotle chiles, minced

1 tsp adobo sauce from chipotle chile

28oz can crushed tomato

10oz can Ro-tel tomatoes & chiles

2 cup vegetable stock

In a large pot, heat oil. Add onion and peppers and saute until tender crisp – about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in chipotle, adobo and spices and cook one minute until fragrant. Add black beans – stir to combine – and cook 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to boil – reduce heat – simmer at least 20 minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it gets.

This chili is great straight out of the pot, but even better the next day.

Serve with warmed tortillas. You could also top with sour cream, cheddar, and scallions. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

If you are interested in sharing your recipe and home cooking story, please contact me at

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Cover photo courtesy of Toa Heftiba