chili with smoke & cocoa

chili/smoky chocolate/pot outside

Unbeknownst to many, cocoa, in it’s natural state, is not sweet, which is why it can be used very successfully in savoury dishes. Unfortunately, it has gained a painfully sweet reputation and suffered many an insult in the form of additives, colourings and chemicals. Do people really think there’s such a thing as white chocolate courtesy of Mother Nature? Anyway, cocoa powder is part of the chocolate family, and something I turn to when I’m looking to add a depth of flavour, a richness, a certain je-ne-sais-quoi – and you don’t need much to turn many a dish from your kitchen, into something that tastes like it’s straight out of somebody else’s – like a pro with years of schooling whose been cooking right alongside Wolfgang!

chili/smoky chocolate/feature

Your beef stew, rack of lambcocoa chile pork ribs, grilled chicken, fish fillets, all sorts of chili concoctions, (con carne or not) – the list goes on and on of what can benefit from a hit of cocoa powder – turns a 2D into a 3D experience for your tastebuds! So in an attempt to bring cocoa powder from the back burner, to the front, from the end of the meal, to at least the middle, if not the beginning – deepen up marinades, rubs, stews, curries, and a pinch or two in a savoury sauce or gravy is magical! So start cooking with (unsweetened) cocoa powder – it’ll be our little secret! Enjoy as is, add a few of the suggestions below, spoon it over rice, pasta or potatoes – have a pot of this on the go, and you’ve got several meals that can be put together quickly and be different every single time depending on what you choose to stir in before serving – I added a little pork to mine. Spoon out what you can eat at any given meal, add what you like, and keep your pot of virgin chili, virgin – for the next spin around the dance floor! So the next time you make chili, switch it up and add to your repertoire of chili recipes, there’s 1000’s to choose from – I’ve got your back below!

click here to jump down to the smoky chocolate chili recipe

chili/smoky chocolate/peppers/garlic

1. Prep the onion, peppers and garlic – and put them in the slow cooker.

chili/smoky chocolate/beans

2. Crack the cans of beans and give ’em a good rinse in a colander – and put them in the slow cooker.

chili/smoky chocolate/corn

3. Put the corn in a bowl on the counter to defrost slightly – and put them in the slow cooker.

chili/smoky chocolate/spices

4. Measure your spices – cumin, chili powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt & pepper – and put them in the slow cooker.

chili/smoky chocolate/tomatoes

5. Open the can of diced tomatoes & sauce – and put them in the slow cooker.

chili/smoky chocolate/tomatoes in

6. See? It’s all going in the slow cooker.

chili/smoky chocolate/water

7. A little water to smooth it out.

baked beans/liquid smoke

8. A shot or 2 of liquid smoke – the secret ingredient.

chili/smoky chocolate/stirred

9. Give it a good stir and say goodnight Dick!

chili/smoky chocolate/cook

7. Six hours is more than a few of us get!

chili/smoky chocolate/done

8. And see what 6 hours means!

chili/smoky chocolate/pot outside

9. I moved it from my slow cooker to my Dutch oven and put it on my porch to cool – don’t you just love natural light! What we have here is gorgeous pure chili ready for anything – enjoy as is, or add cooked chicken, pork, shrimp, fish, grilled steak, tofu – and to finish it …

chili/smoky chocolate/feature

10. A little sprinkle (or a big one) of grated cheese and don’t stop there – what about cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce, diced avocado, shaved bittersweet chocolate, sliced scallions – doctor it up any way you like!

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