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Chili from the SD! Test Kitchen

Makes 4 two-cup servings

Everyone has the best chili recipe, so of course this is the best chili recipe. But not just because… It's got a mild kick, a few special ingredients and a tricky-roux-trick. To roux or not to roux?



  • 3 TBS extra light olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 TBS pure ancho chili powder
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1" square piece of 70% cacao or higher dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt


1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the protein and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally to brown the meat, 3-5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking another 2 minutes while stirring. Add the cumin, chili powder, ancho chili powder, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook another minute. Add the tomatoes, beans, and chicken stock. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

2. Make a roux (optional) by placing two cups of the mixture into a blender and puree for one minute. Return the mixture back to the pot with the rest of the chili.

3. Add the chocolate, dried oregano, paprika, cinnamon, and salt. Stir and let simmer for another 15 minutes.

4. Ladle into bowls and serve with desired accompaniments.


  • Substitute any protein you like for the ground beef. Bison, elk, pork, and even ostrich are tasty options.
  • For the highest health and best flavors, use as many organic ingredients as you can access. If you can get it, go for grass-fed protein.
  • Accompaniments might include Mexican cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, avocado, or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Make it a day or two ahead of time so the flavors have time to meld.
  • You can refrigerate the chili up to 4 days or freeze it for later use up to a month.

Here's to hoping your 2021 is better than 2020 was.

Sussie Hammacher/January 2021

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