I created this recipe for Frieda’s. I had the pleasure of meeting the legendary matriarch, Frieda Caplan, twice. She founded Frieda’s Specialty Produce in the late ‘50s when she was the only woman on the produce selling floor in Los Angeles – she realized there was a ton of wonderful produce around the world that Americans knew nothing about. She set out to change that. Basically, Frieda became a rock star in American food. She and her family are responsible for bringing the kiwifruit to U.S. grocery stores along with sunchokes, spaghetti squash and 200 other “weird produce.” It’s through Frieda’s that I discovered fresh jackfruit and have come to love cooking with it. I hope you will, too. This chili is a great start.
Like cauliflower, fresh jackfruit absorbs the flavors it is cooked with, which makes it the ideal key ingredient to chili.
For this chili and other savory dishes, unripe, fresh jackfruit is paramount. You can find it in the produce department at the grocery store—just look for jackfruit that is bright yellow-green on the outside. To ensure you have the perfect fresh jackfruit for this recipe, thump it and give it a good sniff. It should still be hard and there should not be any scent. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of a jackfruit—whole ones often weigh up to 40 pounds each. Ask the produce manager to cut a 1- to 1½-inch thick piece from the center—it should weigh 3½ to 4 pounds. Once home, be sure to cook with it within 24 hours. Keep it wrapped in plastic and in the refrigerator before using.
This chili recipe is quite homey. It is braised in beer first for depth and flavor, and then cooked down with rich tomatoes, hearty beans, and a fragrant combo of cumin and coriander for a warm, comforty one pot meal. Make this for Game Day, a weeknight dinner or for a casual party. It satisfies nearly everyone—vegans and carnivores alike. Serve it right from the pot along with sour cream, fresh avocado and more sprigs of cilantro. Like all chilis, the flavors are best after 24 hours, so make this ahead and reheat the next day.
Serves 6-8 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 3½ pounds fresh, unripe Frieda's jackfruit (makes about 8 cups of pods and flesh)
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 medium yellow or orange sweet pepper, seeded and diced
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 12-ounce beer (we recommend an IPA)
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
- 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 1½ tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup water
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon hot sauce, depending on preference
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro + sprigs for garnish
- Sour cream for topping
Lay the wheel of jackfruit on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut off about ½-inch of outer skin and remove core. Remove seeds from the pods and their outer membrane. Discard.
Break the jackfruit into 2- to 3-inch chunks. You should have about 8 cups.
Heat a Dutch Oven on medium heat. Add jackfruit, onion, pepper, garlic and olive oil. Stir to coat with wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes until softened.
Add beer to the pot along with salt and pepper. Stir. Continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
Place tomatoes with the juice in a medium-sized bowl and squeeze the tomatoes with your hands to break them into pieces. Add to the pot with cumin and coriander. Stir to combine. Cover slightly and continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
Remove lid and stir in beans, water and hot sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro just before serving. Top with sour cream and sprigs of fresh cilantro.
This chili will keep up to three days.