I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately – first to Alabama to visit family and then to Connecticut to visit friends – and Eric made this chili while I was gone. While we were FaceTiming, he showed me the Dutch oven with this in it and I immediately requested that he save a bowl for me. Had I been home, I would have suggested making some type of southwest chicken chili, mostly because standard chili recipes never really appealed to me. Eric made a great decision choosing this recipe, though, because it clearly won me over. In true Eric fashion, he substituted beer for the water called for in the original recipe. Like any chili recipe, you can adapt this one to suit your personal tastes. Use the high range of jalapeño peppers to make it spicier. Try different types of beer to see which you like best (though make sure it’s something you’d be willing to drink). Mash more or less of the beans to change the thickness of the chili. Whatever you do, don’t leave out the chocolate! It gives this chili a depth of flavor that cannot be achieved without it. When you’re craving a delicious, no frills chili, this recipe can’t be beat.
Brown the beef in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Drain off fat if necessary. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeños and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce and beer (or water) and increase heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.
While the beef mixture is cooking, place one can of beans in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Stir the remaining two cans of beans, along with the mashed beans, into the chili and return to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, cilantro and chocolate. Continue stirring until the chocolate has melted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with desired toppings.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens