My long-time chili recipe, full of spices and flavor and a touch of chocolate. Often served with mashed potatoes, an old Iowa farmwife technique to make meat go further when feeding hungry farmhands.
"The chili was excellent!" ~ Megan
"Holy cow! Was that chili good!!!" ~ Sally
"... it was so good ..." ~ BabyAlan
"The spices and flavor were exquisite." ~ Laurie
It took the longest time to find "my" perfect recipe for chili. I experimented with one recipe after another, finding many "good" chilis but not yet the right combination to claim as my own.
My first chili experiment was borrowed from a great cook from Texas. It called for – get this – two cups (cups!) of beef suet and one-half cup (cup!) of chili powder. Whew – greasy AND spicy and definitely NOT to my taste!
I even entered a chili contest once – I thought it was pretty good chili but the judges were unimpressed to learn my entry included a can of tomato soup!
And then finally, my search brought me to Chocolate Chili, the source, sadly is long lost. Chocolate Chili is a must when the yen for “real” chili hits, when the weather turns brisk, when the snow piles high, when somehow, nothing, nothing at all, will do for Sunday supper. If you're like me, you'll be charmed by the spice-chocolate combination – it softens and deepens the warmth from the chili powder and Tabasco. While many chilis are somewhat sweet, Chocolate Chili recipe falls into the not-sweet camp even with slightly "sweet" spices.
Total preparation time: 2 hours
Makes 12 cups
- 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1-1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 4 cups water (or less for a thicker chili)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco
- 1 – 3 tablespoons chili powder (start with 1 tablespoon, add to taste)
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Cook ground beef and onion until meat is cooked. Drain fat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and water. In a bowl, mix the vinegar, Tabasco, spices, salt and cocoa powder; stir into the chili. Cover and bring to a boil.
FINISH ON THE STOVETOP Simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
FINISH IN THE OVEN Let cook for 2 hours in a 250F/120C oven.
Serve with oyster crackers or "Alanna-style" with a baked potato, mashed potatoes or mac 'n' cheese.
"SPICE FORWARD" CHOCOLATE CHILI Since 2013, I've played with this recipe, one of my oldest. To my taste, this chili keeps getting better and better! Here are the changes I make now:
Stew meat instead of ground meat, browned really well in an iron skillet, really caramelizing the meat.
Use double the tomatoes but half the water.
Leave out the chili powder (I know, heresy!) but double the vinegar and spices. Do NOT double the Tabasco.
Increase the cocoa powder to a full tablespoon.
Take Off the Cold-Weather Chill with Chili
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