It’s chili season! I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s just something comforting about a bowl of chili on a cold gray day. And if it’s rainy too? Oooh, boy! Perfect!
Now, it wasn’t always this way for me. Growing up in Florida, we never had what you would call “chili weather” to look forward to, so while we would still eat chili in the winter, it meant that it was probably about 70 degrees outside!
I have my favorite chili recipe to share with you today, and it includes a special ingredient near and dear to my heart – cocoa! Yes, you heard that right, I’m putting chocolate in chili. This is how my mom has always made chili, and there is just something about the balance of cocoa with chili powder that is really special. My mom was given this recipe decades ago by someone she worked with, and about ten years ago she passed it along to me when I called her begging for the recipe because I really needed some comfort food. Over the years I’ve made some tweaks and perfected my version which I now bring to you.
I like to use lean ground meat (93/7, 95/5…or 90/10 will do well also), because with the mix of spices you really aren’t missing any flavor by cutting back on the fat. I’ve upped the fiber by adding more beans, and I’ve also cut back on the salt by using low sodium beans (or no-salt added beans if I can find them!). With the added cocoa (and dose of antioxidants), you could call this heart healthy chili. At the very least, it will warm your heart.
This chili comes together quickly – after you cook the meat and onions it’s pretty much a “throw in all the ingredients and let it simmer” type of deal. It’s even better after it’s been simmering for awhile past the 30 minute mark, and better still the day after once all the flavors have had time to sit and get to know one another really well.
And so, without further ado…chili!
- ½ lb lean ground meat (93/7 or 95/5)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 15 oz can diced tomato with chili flavor
- 2 cans low sodium or no-salt added kidney beans
- 2 to 2½ Tbsp chili powder (use more if you like it spicier, use less if you don’t)
- 1 10 oz can tomato soup
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add ground meat, stirring and breaking up into smaller pieces.
- When meat is mostly brown, with just a little pink, add onion and chili powder. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion has begun to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients (tomato soup through nutmeg). Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.