Chiarello Chocolate Chili Con Carne

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
  • Total: 2 hr 40 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Cook: 2 hr


3 pounds beef chuck

Freshly ground black pepper

Gray salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon ground cumin, plus 2 teaspoons

2 tablespoons chili powder, plus 2 tablespoons

Masa harina (Mexican corn flour)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lard (Manteca)

4 red onions, peeled and minced

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 jalapeno peppers, sliced thin with seeds, stems removed

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 to 3 (12-ounce) bottles beer

1 (12-ounce) can diced tomato in juices

1 quart chicken stock

3 (12-ounce) cans black beans

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into large chunks


  1. Cut the chuck into ¾-inch pieces, or, to save time, have your butcher do this for you. Place the chuck in a large bowl. Season liberally with pepper (about 20 turns of the pepper grinder) and grey salt to taste– remember half of this will come off in the pan. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, and 2 tablespoons of the chili powder. Mix this well and coat the meat with the masa harina (this is a ground hominy flour common to Mexican cuisine and easily found in the Mexican food sections of many grocery stores). The flour will thicken the sauce and give it a specific, Mexican taste.
  2. Preheat a cast iron Dutch oven on the stove over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and then the coated meat, spreading it evenly so it covers the bottom of the Dutch oven in 1 layer. Leave it alone, without turning it, so the meat will brown and caramelize. Meanwhile, add the lard. The meat has a lot of moisture in it, so a good amount of steam will come from the pan before it is caramelized. As it browns, slowly turn each piece with tongs. Once all sides are caramelized, remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet to cool, leaving juices in the Dutch oven to saute vegetables. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes over medium heat until they start to caramelize and get soft. Add the jalapenos and allow to cook for 2 more minutes until soft. Add the tomato paste. Some of the same spices as were used on the meat will be used in the sauce. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the oregano, and 2 heaping tablespoons of the chili powder. Add beer. Stir to incorporate everything. Add diced tomatoes, and stir. Then add the reserved meat. Add chicken stock. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours until meat is wonderfully tender. Strain juice from the black beans, add the beans to the chili pot and bring up to simmer. Then add chunks of bittersweet chocolate. Stir until it melts. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
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61 Reviews

Anna Roche

This is my third time to make this chili, and each time is a little different. It's definitely a little more time consuming than most chili recipes, but it's worth it. This chili is really fantastic! <br /><br />My tips for best results:<br />- Use very high quality meat that's well marbled. <br />- Let the meat brown long enough to develop a dark crust. <br />- Don't use all the jalapenos. <br />- Instead of simmering the chili for an hour and a half, dump into a preheated crock pot and simmer on low all night. This makes the meat INCREDIBLY tender. Add the beans in the morning and add the chocolate just as it's served, so that it doesn't burn.

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