Super Bowl Chili with Secret Ingredients

20130107-151303.jpgI had the most amazing chili at a family gathering. In fact, I couldn’t stop eating it. I tried to procure the recipe, but had no luck. The chili was made by an in-law who is a caterer, so she doesn’t give out recipes. My husband’s cousin managed to find out that the secret ingredient in the chili is cacao powder, which comes from raw, unsweetened cocoa beans. So, I have been obsessed with duplicating the recipe. I have come up with my own version, which I’m sharing just in time for Super Bowl parties.

The key to making the ultimate chili is to layer the flavors. Start with the standard ingredients like ground meat, beans, onion, tomato sauce, and chili powder. Then add in some additional ingredients to bring up the flavor. My special “add-ins” or secret ingredients are cocoa powder, stout beer, ground coriander, and the unique taste of grass-fed beef. This chili has plenty of flavor, so I think that the recipe could be adapted for different diets and could be made with ground turkey or with only beans to be vegan.

I did experiment with cacao powder vs. cocoa powder and found negligible difference. I don’t think it’s worth the extra money to buy cacao powder when I probably won’t use it in other recipes; whereas, I already keep cocoa powder in the house.

Playbook for My Chili Recipe:20130117-230153.jpg
It’s just the weather for a warm pot of chili simmering on the stove. I can’t wait to make this for game day.

Here’s some football decor to go along with the chili:

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The centerpiece is made with wood kitchen skewers and soft footballparty favors. I love to make several of these centerpieces for a football party because they’re quick to assemble, inexpensive, and festive.

Super Bowl Chili with Secret Ingredients
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Author:
Serves: About 12 to 16
Ingredients:
For the chili:
  • 2 pounds ground grass-fed beef seasoned with ½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced small
  • 2 small carrots, diced small
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (or more to taste)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (about ½ teaspoon)
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinse & drain
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinse & drain
  • 1 28-ounce box or can of strained tomatoes, unsalted (or tomato sauce)
  • 1 12-ounce dark brown stout beer
Toppings:
  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Diced red onion
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Crumbled tortilla chips
Instructions:
  1. Brown the meat over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Season the meat with ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper once it's in the pot. Chop up the meat finely as you brown. When the meat has cooked through, drain off extra liquid, then remove beef and set aside.
  2. In the Dutch oven, add olive oil and warm briefly over medium heat. Add in the onion, green pepper, and carrot. Sauté until soft.
  3. Then stir in the garlic, spices, and brown sugar, and cook for a couple minutes more.
  4. Add the cooked meat, beans, tomatoes, and beer. Stir well to combine. Let come to a boil. Then turn the flame down, and simmer uncovered (on medium low or low) for 1 hour. Stir once in a while. The beer flavor cooks out during the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Can be made ahead, refrigerated, and then re-heated to serve. The chili often tastes best the next day when all the flavors meld. Serve warm with toppings. For a party, can re-heat and keep warm in a crock pot. The chili also freezes well.
Notes:
I like to serve chili with corn bread.

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