Dark, Beer Chili

dsc_0283RECIPE #439, DAY #608


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Chiarello Chocolate Chili con Carne” from I don’t know where, like 15 years ago*

TIMING: 30 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Pretty easy

TOOLS: A soup pot and not much else

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: There are many reasons I love chili. One of them is that in one pot, you have all sorts of healthy ingredients. Now, if you get all greasy and cheap on me, it’s not going to improve matters, but this chili is full of vegetables, spices, beans, protein, and broth. If you control your red meat and beer intake, this is just fine for a hearty dinner. (Best for you served with something other than macaroni, like quinoa or cornbread, but I can never outgrow that.) dsc_0284

EXPERIENCE: I love a dark and complex chili with lots of spices. This is almost exactly the way I make my own, in fact. All it’s really missing is some brown sugar and some cider instead of the broth.

NOTES: I made mine with ground beef because I was stuck at a store with limited options. The original recipe calls for beef chuck cut into bite-sized chunks. You can go either way, just break up your ground meat as you cook.

The original also includes a lot less tomatoes (since it was meant to make a giant pot of chili and started with 3 pounds of meat), but I hate using fractions of a can of anything. If you want, use only a scant 1/2 of a can, or even 1 diced tomato (giving it some time to break down).


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup cubed beef chuck, salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoons chili powder, and enough masa harina to coat. Set aside.
  2. In a soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the meat in 1 layer along with 1-2 tablespoons lard. Let meat sit until it browns on the bottom. Turn and let brown again. Continue until meat is browned all over. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add 1 minced red onion and cook until translucent. Add 2 cloves pressed garlic and stir. Then add 1 sliced jalapeno and cook 2 more minutes. Work in 2 tablespoons tomato paste.
  4. Stir in 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Add 1 bottle beer, 15 ounces diced tomatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, and 1 can black beans, as well as the meat that you set aside. Stir in 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate to melt.
  5. Allow to simmer until meat is to your liking and sauce is thickened, just a few minutes. Taste for salt and serve hot.


Serve with corn bread, macaroni, or quinoa. Other options include sour cream, shredded cheese, raw onion, hot sauce, lime, and cilantro.

LEFTOVER IDEAS: Chili heats up easily and tastes wonderful left-over, but beans only last a few days, even in the fridge. So eat up!

*Recipe changed from the original.


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