Heat from chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, paired with earthy unsweetened cocoa powder. Not just for dessert, the cocoa powder really adds a warm richness!
In my immediate family, I am deemed, “Best Chili Maker!” and I take that to heart, because growing up, my mom seriously made THE best chili. And it’s still really good. But at about age twenty, I started making my own version, and my brother told me it was better than mom’s. #sorrymom
The thing about a really great chili is, do you even know everything you put into it? I feel like those really good chili recipes, passed down from family members are pretty vague, and a lot of it is just adding to taste. There is nothing wrong with that, but not exactly the best way for a food blogger to share a recipe, right?
Today’s chili recipe is not the one my little brother (who is now twenty-five, and who is taller than me (and my husband)) declared his love for – but it’s pretty darn close! This Chipotle Chocolate Chili recipe is a combination of the classic chili I’ve been making for years, and a variation of a chili I started making about three years ago, after my first Whole 30. The not-so-secret ingredient is cocoa powder.
Cocoa powder lends an incredibly rich, and earthy flavor to a simmering pot of chili! It’s not sweet at all, but rich, and warm, and…you’ll have to just trust me on this one, friends. It’s really, really flavorful. *This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Markets. As always, all opinions and recipe are my own.
The first or second time I ever made a big batch of chili on my own, I learned that it will take for-ever to thicken up the way I like it, unless I added a bit of tomato paste (and that’s a trick I learned from my Italian momma when I would help make marinara/bolognese sauce as a kid), and as I’ve gotten older, too much tomato doesn’t agree with me like it used to, so I also add in beef broth (and a littttle fresh lime juice) to cut the acid. I’ve always been a wimp for heat, but I love Chipotle peppers – sparingly, and add 3-4 in adobo sauce.
Plus Smoked Paprika, and Cumin. Those two spices (and garlic) are pretty much staples in most of my cooking at Casa de Crews, when I’m not so much developing a recipe for the blog, but more-so adding a dash of this, and a pinch of that.
The longer this chili sits, the more flavor there will be! You can easily make a batch of Chipotle Chocolate Chili in advance, and reheat before serving. I doubled a batch last Sunday, and it was lunch (and a few dinners) for Jason and I all week. Topped with fresh cilantro, and a few tortilla chips (and cheeeeese), and this chili was one filling, comforting bowl of goodness.
Plus, it’s under 400 calories. I’m more about good, filling ingredients these days (I go back and forth on calorie counting), but can definitely appreciate a low-cal meal that is incredibly filling – and bonus: one bowl has 30 grams of protein. I usually use an 85/15 package of ground beef for chili. You can drain the fat, but will have all the protein and flavor from a package of Sprouts Butcher Shop Beef, which is great because the beef at Sprouts is the same quality of beef that’s served at fine restaurants and steakhouses, which has loads of juicy flavor. If you’re a paleo/whole 30, or low-carb eater, you can omit the beans, and this will become compliant for you!
Tools I used to make this recipe:
chipotle chocolate chili
- 1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground beef - 85/15 suggested
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken or beef stock
- 2-15 ounce cans red kidney beans, drained
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- juice of 1 lime
- Chips, shredded cheese, cilantro, for garnish - optional
- In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add olive oil, yellow onion, and minced garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add ground beef, and break into pieces inside the stockpot. Cook until all sides are browned, about 10-12 minutes. Add cumin, and smoked paprika.
- Add all diced tomatoes, chicken stock, and kidney beans. Mix well, and bring to a boil. Stir in chipotle peppers, tomato paste, and cocoa powder. Simmer on low heat to thicken, about 30-45 minutes. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor.
- Add the juice of 1 lime for acid, and taste broth. Season with salt, and pepper, if desired.
- Serve with garnishes of choice (tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, cheese, etc.)
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