Yes, yes…it’s the middle of May and chili season has expired long ago in much of the country.

Yet, this last weekend it was awfully cold here ~ Mother’s Day weekend, of course ~ and the snowy cold day simply called for a bit of sweet chili delight.


Unaccustomed to a bit of sweet spice in the traditionally bean-laden stew, my tasters were a bit weary of the addition of both cocoa and cinnamon to the pot.

Oh, boy oh boy were they pleasantly surprised.

Of course they were.

Have I ever steered you wrong?



Sweet Cocoa Chili

1 lb. 80% lean ground grass fed beef
1/2 lb. ground bison
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tsp. freshly ground cloves
1 tsp. freshly ground allspice
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 heaping Tbs. chili powder
1 28 oz. can Muir Glen crushed tomatoes
2 c. beef broth


In a large pot, heat and cook the beef and bison until the fat begins to render and the meat is cooked all the way through.  Set aside.  Add onion and reduce heat to low, stirring constantly and caramelizing in the rendered fat.  Add spice mixture.  Once the onions are thoroughly coated in the spices and amazingly glossy from the tallow, add the tomatoes and broth.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for at least an hour.

I always prefer my chili and stew to “sit” an extra day in the fridge to allow all the flavors to deepen and combine before savoring.

Lick your lips like crazy.


Oh, and by the way, I love, love, LOVE my Staub Dutch oven.  The color is astounding.  The cooking properties outweigh any other.  These photos truly make me smile.  I really am smiling…can you see it?

10 thoughts on “Sweet Cocoa Chili

  1. What can you substitute for bison? I would never be able to find bison meat where I live…

    1. Ashley, any lean ground beef will do in this recipe. I certainly like the lean, somewhat gamey feel of bison in this recipe, but a 90% lean ground beef will suffice. It would be really wonderful to experiment with a mixture of different types game meat here – if you ever have access to that. In fact, I have a pound of wild boar in my freezer that I’m dying to try sometime soon! If you come up with any unique flavor combo, let me know 🙂

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