1/2 Photos of Ed's Chicago Cocoa Chili
Edward Heller's Note:
PLEASE READ: YES! CHOCOLATE CHILI! Here is my quite excellent balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy, which I hope you will enjoy as well. 10/14/2011: For those of you out there looking for a traditional chili recipe, THIS ISN'T IT. I've removed the 'sour mix' from the recipe (you can add it if you want) because it really is just adding more sugar, lemon, lime and water, so I adjusted the lemon/lime juice in the recipe and you can add more sugar if you think the chili needs some. If you are trying to go for a more unbalanced, traditional-style taste for this chili, you might want to add brown sugar separately from the rest of the spice mix in smaller amounts until the chili tastes the way you like. I've listed additional salt and pepper without specific measurements because when cooking meat and the veggies, it's standard operating procedure for most chefs to season as you cook. Need that extra layer of heat and flavor? Add 1/2 finely diced Poblano pepper.
My Private Note
Units: US | Metric
- 2 lbs ground beef (you can actually use any ground meat combination, turkey, chicken, pork, sausage)
- 1 cup yellow sweet onion (1 medium or large chopped or diced vidalia, oso, etc.)
- 1 cup sweet bell pepper (1 whole pepper, chopped or diced, any color)
- 2 stalks celery (chopped or diced)
- 1 carrot (chopped or diced)
- 2 jalapeno peppers (sliced or chopped)
- 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 4 -8 garlic cloves (smashed silly)
- salt and pepper (a few shakes here and there can't hurt)
- 2 ounces dark chocolate or 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1/8 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice (or juice from 1 lime)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (or juice from 1 lemon)
THE KILLER COCOA CHILI SPICE MIX
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
- 2 teaspoons Mexican chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (leave this separate if you want to adjust the sweetness of your chili, use less if you substitute so)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's Cocoa)
- 1Assemble the spice mix into an airtight container ahead of time. Most of these ingredients are approximate. Seasonings must be to taste; you're shooting for the perfect SWEET,SALTY,SPICY combo.
- 2CHOP ALL THE VEGGIES UP BEFORE YOU START ANYTHING ELSE. (If you want to save some time: instead of the onion and bell pepper, you can use a bag of frozen "seasoning mix", which includes onions, bell peppers and sometimes small amounts of carrots and celery. you can find this in most frozen veggie aisles.).
- 3Inside a BIG, DEEP, REALLY DEEP cast iron pot (about 7 qt), on HIGH HEAT, BROWN THE GROUND MEAT to about medium rare (You do not need to completely brown the meat, because it will continue to cook in the pot).
- 4Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- 5Drain off or use the ladle to take out the excess fat, but leave some of it in the pot to fry the vegetables.
- 6Push the meat to one side to make space to fry the vegetables.
- 7Reduce the heat to MEDIUM/HIGH.
- 8On the empty side of the skillet, add the onions, garlic, and jalapenos, then add all the rest of the vegetables.
- 9SAUTEE/FRY the veggies for a few minutes.
- 10Season the veggies lightly with salt and pepper. Try to get the veggies on the bottom of the pan, and the meat on top of the veggies. This way the meat doesn't burn and the veggies get cooked. (If you're freaking out about this, just take the meat out first (put it in a bowl), add the veggies to the bottom of the skillet, then add the meat back on top. I'm just trying to keep this a ONE-POT cooking experience.).
- 11Make a little space on the bottom of the pan and.
- 12Add the tomato paste (don't worry if you can't get the entire contents of the can out).
- 13Cook the paste for a minute, then mix everything in the pot together.
- 14Add the crushed tomatoes.
- 15Season the tomatoes with a little salt.
- 16Stir in the KILLER COCOA CHILI SPICE MIX.
- 17Keep stirring, keep a very slow boil or a simmer.
- 18Add Lemon juice, Lime juice and Orange juice.
- 19Also add the dark chocolate pieces. Let the heat from the chili melt the chocolate and then.
- 20STIR STIR STIR.
- 21Taste it. Something not right? Fix it! If it's too hot or sour, add a little more brown sugar. If it's not salty enough, add a little more salt. Not hot enough for ya? Add more hot peppers, or a splash of tabasco hot sauce. Chili is more of an art than a science. Do what tastes good to you!
- 22Set the heat to LOW.
- 23Partially cover and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. TURN OFF THE HEAT.
- 24Congratulations! You now have the best chili on the planet.
- 25You can keep this chili covered in the pot for a few hours. Serve with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and fritos corn chips or cornbread.
- 26STORING THE CHILI - I like to put the chili in those Ziploc disposable/reusable containers. You can refrigerate or freeze the chili in them really easy. The chili reheats very well in the microwave. Refrigerated chili is probably good for a week. Frozen chili is probably good for months. The chili defrosts in about 2 days if moved from freezer to refrigerator.
- 27AWESOME CHILI DOGS! - Use all-beef hot dogs like Vienna Beef, Klement's or Nathan's. Other hot dogs do not deserve this chili.
- 28NO BEANS? WHAT GIVES?. As a big fan of chili, I've discovered that it's origins do not include beans. "Anyone who knows beans about chili, knows that chili ain't got no beans!". Beans were added later, probably because beans are cheaper than meat or out of sheer confusion between chili and baked beans. -- but BEANS ARE FREAKIN GASSY! I don't like gassy chili, and I'd hope you don't either. If you REALLY MUST HAVE BEANS, you can add a can of them to this recipe, it won't hurt the chili.
- 29You can also substitute those soybean crumbles for the meat, which works very well with this recipe, but then remember to make sure you add some type of oil to fry the veggies.
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Nutritional Facts for Ed's Chicago Cocoa Chili
Serving Size: 1 (177 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 10
- Amount Per Serving
- % Daily Value
- Calories 367.6
- Calories from Fat 162
- Total Fat 18.0 g
- Saturated Fat 7.6 g
- Cholesterol 61.6 mg
- Sodium 549.2 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 36.1 g
- Dietary Fiber 7.6 g
- Sugars 15.1 g
- Protein 22.7 g