Secret Ingredient Chili

chili recipe with secret ingredients

Chili.  It “hits the spot” on the first crisp day of fall and satisfies a big appetite on a cold winter day.  This Chili recipe has a couple of surprise ingredients that give it more depth of flavor than your average chili recipe.




Brown ground beef in a large pot on med-high heat.  If there is lots of grease in the pan after browning, use a large spoon to remove it.

Add chopped onion to browned meat and stir together.

Add spices and cocoa.  Stir together and let cook for 2 – 3 minutes.  You may need to turn the heat down a bit so that it doesn’t burn if you removed all of the grease.  Don’t worry if some bits stick to the bottom of the pan at this point.

Add coffee.  Stir well and scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan.  Lower heat to medium and let cook for another 2 minutes until coffee is reduced by half.

Lower heat to med-low.  Add beans (do not drain the canned beans) and tomatoes.  I will add about 1/4 cup (or less) water to the cans and swish around to get all of the extra sauce and tomatoes loosen and pour that into the pot.  Stir well.

Let simmer and stir frequently until ready to serve.


You can use ground beef, turkey or even deer meat.  If you like a meatier chili, add more meat.  I like to use a variety of beans, but feel free to use all chili beans if you’d like.

I often like to serve the chili with shredded cheese on top.

If you get the chili too spicy, add a dollop of sour cream on the chili when served.  The sour cream will help tame the heat.