Spicy chocolate chili (8 servings)

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I make this chili recipe often enough that I can't believe I haven't posted it yet! I found recipe #279821 on Food.com years ago and have made it every couple of months since then. It's uniquely flavorful; the chipotles give it a smoky spiciness, while the melted bittersweet chocolate makes the sauce velvety. Plus, it's vegan, so it fits with this month's theme! (I swear I make a chili recipe every year for Vegan MoFo!)

Please don't let the long list of ingredients dissuade you from trying this one. It all comes together easily, and it's well worth lining up all those spice jars on the counter! If you don't like a lot of heat, you can cut back on the chili powder, jalapeños, or chipotles. I don't suggest omitting any of the other spices, because they really make the chili assertively flavorful!

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder (I never have any, so I skip this)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 14.5-oz cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced thinly with seeds/stems removed
  • 3 canned chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 12 oz beer (Find a vegan one! My favorite is Blue Moon's Harvest Pumpkin Ale.)
  • 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into large chunks (make sure it doesn't contain milkfat)

Steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy stockpot over medium heat; add the onions. Cook and stir for about 15 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the onions with the cumin, oregano, cinnamon, coriander, chili powder, pepper, salt, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 3-5 minutes, making sure the spices don't burn.
  3. Add in the tomatoes, jalapeños, and chipotles and increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and beer, mixing until smooth. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
  5. Stir in the beans and lime juice; simmer for another 15 minutes. Finally, add in the chocolate and stir until it melts.
  6. At this point, you can serve the chili immediately, or you can allow it to cool and keep it in the fridge for a few days. When you're ready to eat it, warm it up in a slow cooker on low for 4 hours, adding 1/2 cup water, if needed, to thin it out.

Most of the time, I make this on the day I plan to eat it, but I have made it on a Sunday and then heated it up later in the week. The flavor does intensify if the chili sits for a day or two! Most of the time, though, I'm too excited about eating it to wait that long!