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Cocoa Chili

We all have our own version of a home-style chili. This one is mine! The richness of the cocoa powder blends effortlessly with the chili and cumin, and of course the cinnamon and fennel add a flavour dimension that is just too good to pass up.

When making your chili, how long do you normally let it simmer? As much as I am a fan of a crock-pot, I actually prefer to simmer my chili for about an hour and a half with the lid just slightly ajar. I find the crock-pot often makes the veggies a little too soft for my liking, but of course I’ve included both variations below depending on what you’d prefer!

When serving, top this one with a dollop of either sour cream or greek yogurt for a creamy and cooling addition. Shredded cheddar cheese is always appreciated as well!


Chocolate Chili


– 1 and 1/2 lbs medium-lean ground beef
– 2 yellow onions, diced
– 1 garlic clove, sliced
– 2 bell peppers, diced
– 2 cans of either crushed or diced tomatoes (I used reduced sodium)
– 2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
– 1 bay leaf
– 2 tbsp ground mexican chillis
– 2 tsp ground cumin
– 1 tsp fennel seeds
– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/4 cup cocoa powder
– 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
– hot sauce like Sriracha to taste (optional)


1. In a large pot, brown the meat over medium heat until cooked through. Add the onions and garlic, stirring until they begin to soften. Add all remaining ingredients (except hot sauce if using). Bring it up to a gentle simmer and then reduce the heat to low (it should only be bubbling slightly). Allow it to simmer, the lid slightly ajar, for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
2. Add hot sauce if you like and adjust seasonings if necessary. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Alternatively, brown the beef and then, along with the other ingredients, throw it into a large crock pot and let it cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 6 hours.

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