Ed’s Chicago Cocoa Chili

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hrs
  • Serves: 10-20,Yield: 6.5quarts
  • About This Recipe

    “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 becausewhen 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.”

    Ingredients

  • 2lbsground beef( you can actually use any ground meat combination, turkey, chicken, pork, sausage)
  • 1cupyellow sweet onion( 1 medium or large chopped or diced vidalia, oso, etc.)
  • 1cupsweet bell pepper( 1 whole pepper, chopped or diced, any color)
  • 2stalkscelery( chopped or diced)
  • 1carrot( chopped or diced)
  • 2jalapeno peppers( sliced or chopped)
  • 2 (28ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 4 -8garlic cloves( smashed silly)
  • salt and pepper( a few shakes here and there can’t hurt)
  • 2ounces dark chocolate or 2ouncesbittersweet chocolate
  • 1/8 cuporange juice
  • 1/4 cuplime juice( or juice from 1 lime)
  • 1/4 cuplemon juice( or juice from 1 lemon)
  • THE KILLER COCOA CHILI SPICE MIX

  • 1/2 teaspoonsalt
  • 1teaspoonblack pepper
  • 1teaspooncayenne pepper
  • 1teaspooncumin
  • 1teaspoonthyme
  • 1teaspoonbasil
  • 2teaspoonsoregano
  • 1teaspoonHungarian paprika
  • 2teaspoonsMexican chili powder
  • 2teaspoonsgarlic powder
  • 1teaspoononion powder
  • 2teaspoonsdried parsley
  • 1teaspoondried cilantro
  • 1/2 cupbrown sugar( leave this separate if you want to adjust the sweetness of your chili, use less if you substitute so)
  • 1/2 cupunsweetened cocoa powder( I use Hershey’s Cocoa)
  • Directions

  • Assemble 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.
  • CHOP 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.).
  • Inside 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).
  • Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Drain off or use the ladle to take out the excess fat, but leave some of it in the pot to fry the vegetables.
  • Push the meat to one side to make space to fry the vegetables.
  • Reduce the heat to MEDIUM/HIGH.
  • On the empty side of the skillet, add the onions, garlic, and jalapenos, then add all the rest of the vegetables.
  • SAUTEE/FRY the veggies for a few minutes.
  • Season 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.).
  • Make a little space on the bottom of the pan and.
  • Add the tomato paste (don’t worry if you can’t get the entire contents of the can out).
  • Cook the paste for a minute, then mix everything in the pot together.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes.
  • Season the tomatoes with a little salt.
  • Stir in the KILLER COCOA CHILI SPICE MIX.
  • Keep stirring, keep a very slow boil or a simmer.
  • Add Lemon juice, Lime juice and Orange juice.
  • Also add the dark chocolate pieces. Let the heat from the chili melt the chocolate and then.
  • STIR STIR STIR.
  • Taste 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!
  • Set the heat to LOW.
  • Partially cover and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. TURN OFF THE HEAT.
  • Congratulations! You now have the best chili on the planet.
  • You can keep this chili covered in the pot for a few hours. Serve with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and fritos corn chips or cornbread.
  • STORING 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.
  • AWESOME CHILI DOGS! – Use all-beef hot dogs like Vienna Beef, Klement’s or Nathan’s. Other hot dogs do not deserve this chili.
  • NO 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.
  • You 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.
  • Reviews

  • “I made this last night for an event.It was a HUGE success.Every bite was eaten.Thank you!”

  • “This was the most wonderful chocolate chile I have ever tasted. It moved my taste buds to heights of orgasm!”

  • “I make this often for football parties. It’s always a hit! I leave out the sweet and sour sauce and I add chili beans (I like ’em, darn it!). My hubby has requested this for our New Years Eve party. What a great flavor to start the new year with. Thanks!”

  • “Brought this to our neighbor’s for 4th of July and it was a hit! I bought indidual Frito bags and had everyone laddle some chili right in the bag. Great way to have easy clean up. Can’t wait to have it again!”

  • “I’ve made this recipe for the past few years, and it is always a hit!A lot of my friends don’t like the chilis with beans and this is a great alternative.I have made with the soy crumbles as well and the flavorful sauces transfers very well…but it’s definitely better with the meat =)A staple for my family – I even passed it along to a new bride (with all due credit!)”

  • “I love this recipe!It is genius!!! My whole family has tried this and rated it a great!!!Thank you!”

  • “I just asked my husband what he would rate this recipe and he said: “Very, very good!” The friends we hosted tonight concurred. What a wonderful blend of … everything. Next time I will use the two jalapenos as directed (only used one this time for fear it would be too spicy) and keep everything else. Made my own sweet-and-sour mix with equal parts water, sugar, lime and lemon. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful and I’m off for a second bowl!”

  • “This was the best stuff when I tasted it immediately after combining everything.I went through 5 spoons going back for another taste!A warning though:use the cooking method described in the recipe!I always make chili in the crock pot, and for this occasion I had to let it cook overnight as it had to be at my daughter’s daycare at 7am.And then they kept it plugged in ALL day long.By the 5pm chili supper, the complexity was gone and it tasted very bitter.I think you can still use the crockpot, but mind the cooking times listed.I’m giving it another go this weekend when I have the time to cook as directed.”

  • “WHOA!!!THANKS ED! This is one of the best chili recipes I’ve have tasted. Well worth the effort to chop all the veggies.Had a little trouble mashing the whole tomatoes into manageable bites.I am not a big fan of cilantro and at first found it a little overpowering but after adding the OJ ect, it just added a nice kick. Had to use garlic from a jar as clove garlic is a little hard to find here but didnt seem to matter much.”

  • “This chili was…interesting. I was willing to try it as I recently had an enchilada sauce that had coco and chili powder in it and it turned out delicious. With all the rave reviews I was hopeful. But this actually upset our stomachs a bit. I made it exactly to the recipe’s instructions, with only a few minor changes in the chili spice mix (a little less of this and that). I tasted it before we put the spice mix in and it was actually decent tasting, but the coco killed it. Even my chocoholic brother wasn’t crazy about this.”

  • “I had a houseful for chili last night and made Ed’s chili. Everybody raved about it and my wife who is not a chili person thought it was the best that she has had. I only made a few minor changes with the biggest one was adding a pound of chopped pork. I adjusted the spices to my taste and it came out perfect Thanks Ed!”

  • “Very good chili!We doubled the jalapenos and used urad dal and kidney beans instead of the ground beef.”

  • “chocolate is not just for dessert anymore! just made this and love it. made it with turkey for my granddauaghter who cannot eat red meat. its great”

  • “good stuff”

  • “Very good! Definitely more of a mole than a chili, in my book but this doesn’t bother me in the least. I love it. I didn’t have any of the sweet and sour sauce, so I just skipped that. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly.”

  • “I didn’t love this.There was just too much going on for my taste, I will probably take elements from the recipe, though, such as the sweet & sour mix and use them in a more basic chili recipe.”

  • “With all the great reviews, I was really expecting something amazing and it just didn’t fo it for me.”

  • “My husband loved this chili!We just keep eating it (I did not expect to like the cocoa flavor- I was just making it for others- and I really liked it too).I made a couple mistakes when making it, but they were not big enough to change the integrity of the flavor.I made this for a large church function and won an award (hotness; cause I accidentally used a hotter pepper…) and I received many compliments.If you are looking to try something different, this is a great recipe and well worth the effort.I also did not find it very difficult to make.Just make sure its not too late at night ;)”

  • “This recipe is terrific. I made it for a business chili cook-off held by our local Chamber of Commerce. I didn’t win, however, it was a popularity vote so the business that had the most employees and friends there won. However, out of all the participants, we ran out because everyone came back for seconds! The fact that it was “Chocolate Chili” was a huge draw, everyone wanted to try it. Of course, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, I didn’t have the sweet and sour mix, so used 7-up, also used V-8 juice. I also put in the beans to stretch it. This chili is awesome with corn chips. The sweetness of the chili hits you first and then you get this unexpected heat later. It is not an overly sweet chili, although you can easily adjust the heat and sweetness to your own taste. I was pleased, the professional chef that won, came over to taste my chil and was highly complimentary! Thanks for making me look good!”

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