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Recipe Box: Chili Con Carne (with a sweet little secret)


I’ve been making chili for years with a secret ingredient: a touch of chocolate. I was initially inspired to make it this way after seeing the movie Chocolat many years ago–you know, when Vianne adds a pinch of hot chili pepper to her hot chocolate recipe? There’s something about the combination of chocolate and chili that just…works.

So, here’s my recipe. It’s not enough that you would actually taste the chocolate (which is what makes it a secret ingredient.) Somehow, the chocolate just seems to bring out the richness and enhance all the flavors.

I usually make this chili in a slow cooker but you could just as easily do it in a big Dutch oven on the stovetop.


  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (if you prefer a less “chunky” chili, use a can of crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • chocolate (either 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or 2 squares of bakers’ semisweet)


  1. Fry the onion until softened.
  2. Crumble the ground beef into the pan containing the onion and brown thoroughly.
  3. Add the beef and onion to your slow cooker.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, stir thoroughly, then cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

A perfect, feel-good meal for the end of winter. Enjoy!

One Response to “Recipe Box: Chili Con Carne (with a sweet little secret)”

  1. Brilliant! I definitely also loved the movie chocolat! The chili looks simply to die for!

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Kim Foster writes YA and adult books about thieves, spies, and assassins. (Read More)

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