Chilli con carne with chocolate

Photograph: Emma Jervis

Photograph: Emma Jervis

Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 06:00

  • Serves: 4


  • For the chilli
  • 500-725g stewing beef, cubed very small
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • Colorado sauce (see recipe below)
  • 50g cacoa/dark chocolate
  • 1tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • For the Colorado sauce
  • 6-7 small dried red chillies, or 4-5 large fresh ones
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove


First, make the Colorado sauce. If the chillies are dried, soak them in a little water for an hour, then slit them and wash out the seeds. Discard the stalks.

Remove the seeds from the pepper and puree with the rest of the ingredients, using the chilli-soaking water if necessary to moisten the mixture. If you use fresh chillies you might need a tablespoon or two of cold water.

You can keep this sauce in a covered container in the fridge for two days, or you can freeze it.

Now make the chilli. Take a bowl and add the meat with enough oil to coat it, along with some salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan and brown the meat in batches, transferring it to a saucepan as you go.

In the same frying pan, cook the onions lightly, and then add to the meat.

Add the green pepper, Colorado sauce, cacoa and just enough water to cover the ingredients. Cover lightly and leave to stew until cooked – about an hour – making sure you are keeping the heat low. Check the liquid level occasionally. By the end of the cooking time it should have reduced to a thick brownish-red sauce. If it reduces too soon because the lid of the pan is not a tight fit, or you had the heat too high, top it up with water.

Add the tomato puree, the cumin and the garlic, with a little more salt if needed, along with a pinch of brown sugar to taste.

Simmer for a further 15 minutes, correct the seasoning and serve with rice and a three-bean salad.