Spicy Chocolate Chili

My tolerance for spice is about a 2, and my usual chili is so mild, it’s really just a stew with chili-esque ingredients. But enticed by tales about a friend’s chili cook-off, I have been craving a darker, richer, smokier chili. The Chipotle Chocolate Chili recipe from OurBestBites seemed to fit the bill: adding depth & zing with red pepper, adobo sauce, and unsweetened chocolate. Check out the original blog post for the photo tutorial, but I made a few changes to quantities & methods. The verdict: spicy! but complex and delicious. Served it up alongside some quick & easy Sour Cream Cheddar Biscuits, which help cut the spice too. Yum. Almost made it worth sitting thru a football game.


Chipotle Chocolate Chili
adapted from OurBestBites
serves 6; 1 hour to table

1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef (or turkey, but beef has better flavor)
2 Tb chili powder
1 Tb unsweetened cocoa (baking) powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
kosher sea salt & black pepper
2 Tb Adobo Sauce from small can of Chipotle Peppers
29-oz. can diced tomatoes
15-oz. can beef broth
1 or 2 14.5-oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tb brown sugar
3-4 Tb red wine vinegar
1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (1/2 unsweetened baking cube), chopped (optional; use to taste as needed; be careful, because too much will make your chili bitter)

Optional Garnish: 

sour cream
chopped scallions
shredded cheddar cheese


1.  In a large stew pot or casserole, heat 2 tb olive oil over medium heat. Sautee the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper & garlic, cook 3 minutes more. Add ground beef, and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes.

2. Stir in seasonings: chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, salt & pepper, and the adobo sauce. When well combined, add diced tomatoes and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. 

3. Add kidney beans, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and chopped chocolate. Cook 5 minutes more, until heated through. Can be kept warm for much longer without getting mushy, so it’s ideal for parties. Serve garnished with sour cream, scallions, and shredded cheddar.


Sour Cream Cheddar Biscuits
from SmittenKitchen
serves 6; 25 minutes to table

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (use less if using salted butter)
2 Tb cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup sour cream
optional: 2 Tb drained, diced pickled jalapenos (I omitted)


1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Either cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or rub them in with your fingertips until well-combined.

2. Stir in the cheddar and sour cream (& jalapenos if using) until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Pat it out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a very well-floured counter and use a 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut six rounds. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden.


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