Mitch’s Tavern Black Bean & Sausage Chili

Today’s film is the last of the films in this year’s 12 Days of Oscar that was nominated for an Oscar but did not win.  The 1988 film Bull Durham was nominated for one Oscar, for Best Original Screenplay (it lost to Rain Man). Bull Durham follows the players and fans of the Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team in Durham, North Carolina.  “Crash” Davis, a veteran minor league player is sent down to the single-A division to educate a rookie pither, “Nuke.”  Annie Savoy chooses one Bull every season to be her lover and student.  She chooses Nuke and throughout the season her “coaching style” clashes with Crash’s, despite their growing attraction toward each other.


The bar scene where Crash and Nuke meet Annie Savoy (and subsequently come to blows outside) was filmed at Mitch’s Tavern in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The glass door Nuke breaks in the movie is still there, and much of the furniture and layout is still the same sa it was at the time of filming.  According to their website, Mitch’s was already well-known for their vegetarian chili and decided to add a sausage and black bean chili to the menu.  This is easy to make but it’s an all-day chili because you start with dried black beans and they’ll need to soak/ cook for a total of two hours before you start the chili.

Mitch's sausage chili- topped

Mitch’s Black Bean & Sausage Chili


  • 1 lb. dry black beans
  • 2 lbs. Roma tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 C. beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil


Rinse the beans and sift through to remove any stones.

Drain the beans and pour them into a large pot.

Cover the beans with 1 quart of water and bring to a simmer over high heat.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour.

Drain the beans into a colander and rinse them, then pour them back into the pot and cover them again with 1 quart of water.

Place over medium high-heat and bring to a simmer.  Cook the beans for about 1 hour, occasionally stirring gently, until soft.  If they get dry, add 1/2 C. of water as needed.

To peel the tomatoes, core them and make an “X” on the opposite end.  Place them into boiling water for 1-2 minutes.  Immediately plunge them into ice water, and the skins should slip off easily.

Seed and roughly chop the tomatoes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  You can either cook the sausage as links for 8-10 minutes on all sides and then slice it into 1/2″ thick slices OR you can remove the casings and cook the sausage, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until completely cooked and drain, then remove to a plate (I did the latter).

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil over medium-high heat.

Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.

Add the fresh and canned tomatoes to the Dutch oven and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in the peppers, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and beef broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the sausage and cilantro and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Stir in the beans and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer for 30 minutes, then stir in the basil.

Top with cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream or your favorite toppings.

Makes 3 1/2 quarts.

Source: Mitch’s Tavern

Mitch's sausage chili topped


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