Chocolate is amazing. It has antioxidant properties and can reduce inflammation, among other health benefits. But most of all, it tastes good — even in savory dishes like chili. This easy chili with cocoa is no exception. Just two tablespoons of regular cocoa powder transforms a normal stew into something with a rich, deep flavor you just can’t get from a baggie of chili mix from the store.
How to make easy chili with cocoa
Below is a very easy way to prepare this dish, which has enough for two or three family dinners during the week. This takes less than 15 minutes to prep and can simmer for as little as 30 minutes and as much as 3 hours.
2 teaspoons (more or less to taste) sea salt. I start with one teaspoon and work up after that.
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
cracked pepper, to taste
2 large cans Italian Style tomatoes, either whole or diced (with the juice)
1 small can of green chilis, diced (heat level is up to you, I use hot!)
1 bag of cubed sweet potatoes (16 oz). You can dice your own, but this makes it so easy.
1/2 cup brown sugar, but only if you don’t care if it’s paleo! If you are a paleo person this can be omitted.
Cilantro, for garnish
Chopped red or green onion, for garnish
Heat the oil in a large pan or dutch oven. Add the onion and saute until soft, about two to three minutes. Drop in the beef and chop it down to small chunks. Then, add the spices and cocoa, and stir for three to four minutes, chopping the meat to small chunks all the while. Toss in the tomatoes and beans and let simmer about ten minutes on medium. Taste and correct for salt and pepper. Spoon in the brown sugar. Cover the pot and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours. Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and cheese of your choice. I also like to add a little bit of chopped red onion.
handfulwhite cheddar or goat cheesefor serving on top
1/4cupred winefor deglazing the pan
Heat the oil in a large pan or dutch oven. Add the onion and saute until soft, about two to three minutes. Add the beef and chop it down to small chunks. Add the spices, and cocoa and stir for three to four minutes, chopping the meat to small chunks all the while. Deglaze the pan with about 1/4 cup or less of red wine. Cook down until it's absorbed. Add the tomatoes, and beans and let simmer about 10 minutes on medium. Taste and correct for salt and pepper. Add the brown sugar. Cover the pot and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours. Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and cheese of your choice. I also like to add a little bit of chopped red onion.
I am a mom of two and wife to a martial arts school owner, full-time social media professional and avid cook and gardener. I love creating recipes and involving my kids in the process. The food we cook is usually dairy-free and gluten-free, and sometimes paleo, but we make exceptions (ahem, sourdough bread). The “hippie” part of this blog comes into play in the ingredients we use—I’m pretty vigilant about the health of my family and you could even call me “crunchy.” The “modern” part is that I am busy! You won’t catch me making my own nut milk or churning butter (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I’m more than happy to take the shortcuts provided by our lovely grocery stores and online shopping —especially in the midst of this global pandemic.