In sixth-grade English, our class read a story about a Native American tribe in the Southwest. I’ve forgotten all but one fascinating detail of that story: The family ate meat cooked with chocolate. Thanks to my dad’s rule that we must at least try everything once, I ate a lot of weird stuff as a kid – raw lamb in kibbeh, sweetbreads, capers – but this was something I simply couldn’t fathom. Chocolate! With meat! Now, I’m a sucker for anything that’s sweetly savory, and every time I reach for the cocoa, I smile at the memory of 11-year-old me. This chili is spicy, but not hot. Reminiscent of mole, the flavors are rich, mellow, and deep.
*Melissa Joulwan is the author of Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat and Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, as well as the blog, The Clothes Make The Girl, where she writes every day about her triumphs and failures in the gym, in the kitchen, and in life. After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and food as the enemy, Melissa found the paleo diet in 2009 and has been happily, healthily following it ever since. These days, Melissa’s workouts are just as likely to include yoga and meditation as lifting heavy things and trying to stay ahead of the stopwatch.
Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 1 cup | Calories: 295 | Total Fat: 16 g | Saturated Fat: 8 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 74 mg | Sodium: 647 mg | Carbohydrates: 13 g | Dietary Fiber: 3 g | Sugars: 6 g | Protein: 27 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 9
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they're translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and as soon as it's fragrant, about 30 seconds, crumble the brown meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it's no longer pink.
- In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release the flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the pot, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth, and water to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the chili enjoys a gentle simmer. Simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours. Do not skimp on the simmer!