Dark-Cocoa Chili

When Wisconsin warms up and melts, so do the bottom half of our jeans. During my college years, I remember one day in which the weather changed from -17 degrees all the way to 38 degrees. It is time to break out the shorts and ditch the pants! I am not even joking. Wisconsinites are mostly like this: They try to defeat the cold as much as possible by always trying to wear the least amount of clothes. I have never understood this, but when it is going from -17 degrees all the way to 38 degrees, it is a time to celebrate with wearing shorts. With affection towards this temperature change, I decided to run around outside in shorts. After I came inside, I realized this evening would end perfectly with a warm bowl of chili.


I’ve been trying to perfect this chili for a number of years after taking influence from my Cuban relative (this is nearly not as spicy). I originally was using a chocolate bar and more spice, but I definitely appreciated adding my own touch of sweetness and dark cocoa powder. The creaminess of dark chocolate soothes your mouth as a kidney bean crushes between your teeth. It is a great texture, spiciness, and warmth that truly makes any night worth cuddling up for. Break out the dutch oven, crock pot, or your favorite large pot for this recipe. 

The Ingredients

  • 3 TB chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion
  • ½ lbs hamburger
  • 2 TB cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 green and yellow pepper
  • ½ orange pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 12oz can of red kidney beans
  • 1 28oz large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz small can of whole, plum tomatoes
  • 1 6oz  can of tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups water

Some Tips-and-What Not

Don’t run around outside when it is -17 degrees! I really wanted to address some important cooking techniques here but I am not quite sure what to address with chili. All I can really vouch for is investing yourself in a crock pot. They really come in handy when you work all day and don’t have much time to cook in the evenings. You can keep it on low all day while you’re at work and come home to a delicious meal and delicious smelling house. That sounds like a delicious and comforting tip to me!

The Instructions

  1. Chop in edible pieces’ sweet potatoes, peppers, jalapeño, 1 TB chili powder and sauté in your favorite large pot with 4 TB of grapeseed oil for 5 minutes or place directly in a crock pot on high heat.


  2. In a separate pan mix and fry on medium heat 2 TB chili powder, garlic, onion, hamburger, cocoa powder, cumin, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Fry until the hamburger is cooked through.
    *caution this might look like poop*
  3. In the large pot or crock pot add kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and the hamburger mixture.
  4. Mix it all together and turn the heat to medium-low letting it summer for about 1 hour until the sweet potatoes are tender. Lastly, stir in the tomato paste and let sit for another 10 minutes. If you’re using a crock pot turn it onto high heat for about 3-4 hours, again until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  5. To make it more of a comfort style, serve it with your favorite pasta noodles, dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, fresh cut chives, or more fresh jalapeños for taste!

Cook well, live long, and be happy!


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