Mexican-Style Chili

This simple chili gets its deep, rich taste from a special secret ingredient - cocoa. For maximum flavour, make it the day before, refrigerate it overnight and reheat it just before serving.


2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound ground pork or turkey
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 banana pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can red kidney beans
1 (14 ounce) can white kidney beans
2 tbsp. raisins (optional)
1 tbsp. sugar
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)


In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, add olive oil. When olive oil is hot, add onions and garlic and sauté until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add ground meat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until meat is browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add red pepper, banana pepper and jalapeno and cook until peppers have softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in hot pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, red and white kidney beans, raisins, sugar and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Add the cocoa powder. Reduce heat to low and let chili simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and flavours marry, about 45 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Yield: 4 servings.