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 farmhands.
There must be a dozen chili recipes in my box. I searched for the perfect recipe for several years and along the way tried many variations. I even entered a chili contest once – the judges were unimpressed to learn my entry included a can of tomato soup!
My first chili experiment used a recipe from a great cook from Texas. It featured two cups (cups!) of beef suet and one-half cup (cup!) of chili powder. Whew – greasy and spicy!
The search yield many good chili recipes that still get made but Chocolate Chili is a must when the yen for “real” chili hits.
Like many chilis, this recipe is best made a day ahead so the flavors can meld. This way you can also skim off additional excess fat.
Don’t be turned off by the spice/chocolate combination – it softens and deepens the warmth from the chili powder and Tabasco.
Total preparation time: 2 hours
Makes 12 cups
- 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1-1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (15 oz can)
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 quart 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
- 1 bay leaf
Cook ground beef and onion until meat is cooked. Drain fat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, vinegar and Tabasco. Stir spices, salt and cocoa powder together in small dish. Stir into chili and add bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1-1/2 - 2 hours. Remove bay leaf.
Serve plain or over hot spaghetti, a baked potato or mashed potatoes.
While many chilis are somewhat sweet, this recipe falls into the not-sweet camp. The spices are warm and wonderful. Try not to break up the ground beef too small while it's cooking. Ground elk works just as well as ground beef in this chili recipe. Go ahead, add beans if you like! Yum! This chili tastes great with Mashed Potatoes & Carrots! Originally published in print in 2002, first published online in 2008.
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