Melissa’s Super Secret Chili Recipe

Melissa’s Super Secret Chili Recipe

chili with chocolate

I grew up hating chili. I’m not sure what it was but some chili recipes (especially commercially made chili) have a very distinct flavor profile that is really heavy on a powdery fake chili flavor. It turned me off young and I thought I did not like it.

Then, my senior year in high school in a fun class of home economics – we had a guest teacher (Mr. Bozeman for those of you who know him) and he came in and made a chili with steak, beans and beer! Wow! I learned that homemade chili was nothing like the garbage in a can.

Well, this recipe is nothing like Mr. Bozeman’s. However, it does have both meat and beans which a lot of chili recipes do not. That is one of the keys to me. Also, since my kids love this, I don’t make it very spicy. Those of us that like a little extra spice can do so with our favorite hot sauces. Sometimes, I make two pots and add a lot more jalapeños and other fresh chilies and change out the chili powder to a hotter chili. (Recipe adapted from an old chili recipe I found many years ago in Bon Appetit)

Servings: 8+; Level of Difficulty: Easy; Time: Prep time – 30 minutes, Cook time – 45 minutes


4T Olive Oil

3lbs lean ground beef

8 garlic cloves, minced

3 1/2 cups onions, diced

3 – 7oz cans diced mild green chilies, drained

1 1/2 cups red bell peppers, diced

3/4 cup chili powder

3T unsweetened cocoa powder (the secret ingredient)

2 1/2 T cumin

2T dried oregano

2t allspice

4 – 15 oz cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

3 – 28oz cans crushed tomatoes with puree

15oz beef broth

Toppings of your choice: I use sharp cheddar (cabot 3yr old), scallions, Fage 0% Greek yogurt and tabasco (both original and the green kind).

How to make a great chili recipe

Heat oil over medium-high. Add beef and garlic until meat is brown. Add onions, chilies, peppers and spices and saute until veggies are soft.

Add beans, tomatoes and broth.

Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes, but longer is better.

Serve in your favorite bowl, with your favorite topping, your favorite chips and your favorite beer!! Quality meat is essential but the chocolate is the trick. It adds so much depth of flavor.

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