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are you chili?

Recipe: chocolate stout chili

It can get pretty cool where we live… sometimes down to -20F. I don’t mind the cold. I actually enjoy stepping out into the winter air and feeling the inside of my nose crackle when I breath in. The only real hardship of winter that we encounter is the wind (because snow isn’t hardship, it is recreation). And we encounter it up to 100 mph at times. So while I might not feel cold in 10F, I will feel chilled to the bone at 32F with a wind whipping away every unit of heat my body produces (and I produce a lot of heat – some may call it hot air). It’s blowing today and I can hear the loose sections of roofing flapping in the gusts. I sincerely hope the roofers call before the pieces go flying off into… Kansas.

Soups and stews are so utterly perfect for cold weather days. When I was a graduate student in central New York, I would rally a chili cookoff among the graduate students during this time of year. We always had an impressive array of chilis that included: curry, chocolate, beer, vegetarian, chicken, or the hottest hot you could imagine. It was always a geochemist who went for entering the hottest chili. That’s when my friend Ben thought he made chili from the butt of a pig. He kept chuckling, “Mine is made from Pork Butt.” We finally told him he was an idiot and that the pork butt is part of the shoulder. I should also note that the majority of our cookoff participants were men!

My most recent incarnation of chili involves two of those inspired variations from the cookoffs: chocolate and stout. Chocolate stout, to be precise. I have one of those prize-winning recipes that requires throwing in chorizo, a cow, and a pig, and a million other ingredients, but I like this simple recipe because it’s something you can whip up fairly quickly and because the guys at the local liquor barn get a kick out of my food-related booze purchases.

fresh produce

Don’t be fooled here. When I am a bum, I will use canned organic tomatoes (although I never never ever use canned jalapeños, that is scary). I am a big fan of mise en place, which means getting your junk in order before you start cooking. Makes the cooking experience go smoother and faster. There is some chopping to be done with this recipe: chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes (if fresh), and the jalapeños. The deal with the jalapeños is not to handle them with bare hands and then touch your eyes or nose with those hands. It’s just an unpleasant experience for all involved. I used to have a collection of those plastic food service gloves that my mom mailed me. She likes to mail me things like kleenex, sponges, dishwashing detergent, and disposable plastic gloves – it’s a mom thing… I ran out a while back, so I just use a plastic sandwich bag over the handling hand. I slice the tops off, then cut down the middle and core the pepper. We discovered that leaving the seeds in makes for a chili that only one of us (me) can digest. Then I dice up the flesh.

chopped and ready

not a spice girl, just a cook

Obviously you can play with the spices and ingredients of the chili to your preference. I’m thinking of incorporating some unsweetened chocolate next time. Brown some ground beef, breaking up the clumps. I prefer organic. Remove to a bowl. Sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic in a little vegetable oil. I read a recipe that starts with three tablespoons of bacon fat and swooned at the thought, but each time I have bacon fat available, I chicken out and chuck it in the trash. One day… one day… Once the onions are translucent, add the browned ground beef, beef bouillon, and the tomatoes and simmer the tomatoes down.

the start of something wonderful

The first time I tried a chocolate stout recipe, I used a local Ft. Collins chocolate stout. That left me with 5 bottles. More recently I have been able to procure Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and the only reason I buy it is because I can get it in a single bottle. Me – I know zippo about beer/ale/stout.

the cashier at the liquor barn must think me odd

Add the stout and let the whole thing simmer for an hour. Mix in the spices and simmer for another 30 minutes. If you’re impatient like me, you can add the spices and beans at the same time and simmer for 30 (if you’re patient, add the beans 30 min after the spices and simmer another 30). Does it make much difference? I honestly couldn’t say. Crock potting the entire thing is also an option (4-6 hours on high?), but brown the beef on the stove top.

showering the beans in spices

Some folks don’t let the chili simmer for long because it’s ground beef, but the longer simmer lends to a more tender bite. That’s just my preference. Serve it hot with fixings of your choice.

some avocado and cheddar to round out a good bowl of chili

Chocolate Stout Chili
[print recipe]

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, diced
3-4 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps vegetable oil
28 oz. tomatoes, half diced and half puréed (or fresh, diced)
2 cubes beef bouillon or paste
1 bottle or can of chocolate stout
3 tbsps cumin, ground
1 tbsp chili pepper
1 tbsp cayenne, ground
salt to taste
2 cans kidney beans, drained

Brown the beef over high heat, breaking up the clumps. Set aside. Heat vegetable oil in the pan intended for the chili, and sauté the garlic, onion, and peppers until onions are translucent. Add the beef, beef bouillon, and tomatoes. Stir and let simmer until tomatoes begin to break down. Pour in the chocolate stout and simmer the chili covered for an hour. At this stage you can add the spices and simmer for 30 minutes and then add the beans and simmer for another 30, or add the spices and beans at once and simmer for 30. Serve hot!

35 nibbles at “are you chili?”

  1. Amy says:

    Yummmmm! It warms me up just looking at it.The weather doesn’t get as cold here in Texas as it does where you are, but this Chilli will be good in any weather. Does Chocolate Stout really taste chocolatey? Just curious:)

  2. Maninas: Food Matters says:

    Sounds lovely!!!

    I posted a chili recipe recently as well. I will try yours too, if I manage to get some chocolate stout!

    Try adding spices with the onions, this will bring the flavour out of them more strongly! :)

  3. holybasil says:

    I love adding beer to chili, though I’ve never used this one. Adding chocolate stout to it makes me think of mole sauce. What a great ideal. I love Young’s DC Stout – a very steadying drink :) Oh, and I also like the Fat Tire amber ale that you Coloradoans make.

  4. Sam says:

    Yummy yum yum yum! It looks so cozy. Love the avocado slices.

  5. Michael Natkin says:

    Dang that looks really tasty right now… I think I forgot to eat anything on my shift tonight!

    Michael Natkin
    The Herbivoracious Blog

  6. steamy kitchen says:

    Chocolate Stout! I NEED SOME!!! I have never tried

  7. jenyu says:

    Amy – I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t ever tasted the chocolate stout straight. Nor have I tasted a regular stout. In this regard, I am completely useless because I am not a beer drinker :( But you ought to give it a try if you ever make the recipe!

    Maninas – Oooh, thanks for the tip! I never thought to do that, but I think you make perfect sense there.

    HolyBasil – Yup, that was my motivation: mole! Great minds think alike? ;) If you guys ever happen through CO, let me know. We have a lot of local breweries although as I said above, I am completely beer stupid (and Jeremy digs on girl booze: i.e. anything sweet).

    Sam – what are you doing over my food blog, lady? ha ha ha! Hope your move goes well. We miss you guys. xxoo

    Michael – indeed! How can you possibly forget to eat when you make such lovely food?

    Steamy Kitchen – get that woman a chocolate stout, stat!

  8. Kevin says:

    Bookmarked! Chocolate stout chili sounds really good. Nice photos!

  9. chiffOnade says:

    Chocolate does NOT belong in chili. I am a PROFESSIONAL CHEF (a graduate of Peter Kump Culinary School) and I think I know how to make chili. My roommate would throw me out of the trailer house if I ever fed her chili with chocolate in it.

  10. Amy says:

    CHEF chiffOnade needs to relax a little. Go crazy and try it. You might actually like it :)

  11. links for 2007-11-17 « linksnstuff says:

    […] Chocolate Stout Chili (tags: recipe beans chilis stew) […]

  12. jenyu says:

    Kevin – thanks :)

    chiffOnade – are you this rude and pompous with everyone you meet or just strangers? Please do get over yourself and learn some manners before commenting again.

    Amy – thanks Amy.

  13. Traca says:

    This looks wonderful!

    Have you tried other chocolate stout beers? I think the Young’s brand is…well, kind of gross. I made the fabulous chocolate stout cake on Epicurious and bought two kinds of chocolate stout for a taste test beforehand. The Young’s brand was thin on flavor. While I ended up using a West Coast Microbrew (Rogue’s Chocolate Stout), I’d encourage you to look for other brands.

    And if you get a chance to try the Chocolate Stout Cake…do. It’s moist and delicious. Stays moist for days…


  14. Marcy says:

    I would assume that most professional chefs would know that chocolate stout is not “chocolate,” like a candy bar. Chocolate stout is not sweet – it has a chocolate hint to it, as do some red wines. Pretty pompous to be livin’ in a trailer house, ha ha!

  15. jenyu says:

    Traca – thanks for the tip, I will be on the look out for some good chocolate stout for next time. I’ll check out the cake recipe too.

    Marcy – I wouldn’t worry, I think he’s just snarky ;)

  16. Joyce says:

    I have to ask T to procure some chocolate stout. I have tried chocolate bits in curry to give it depth, and I’m delighted to try it out in chili!! Your blog is always inspiring – rehydrating some beans right now. hugs!!!

  17. jenyu says:

    Joyce – thanks sweetie :) Definitely go with Traca’s recs on good choc. stouts!

  18. eamonn says:

    honey- buy a pressure cooker and stop usin canned beans for chili. other than that your a taste pirate ….rulin yer seven seas.

  19. jenyu says:

    Eamonn – yeah well, when you are ready to pay to remodel my kitchen and give me more cabinet space, I’ll consider a pressure cooker :)

  20. Rachelle ~ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" says:

    I have heard of and even made chili with cocoa powder in it. They say it’s the secret ingredient. ;)

  21. jenyu says:

    Rachelle – I really think it adds a lovely dimension to the flavors. But chili has so many versions and I really love the variety!

  22. Ana says:

    I can’t find a double chocolate stout here in Portugal :( Is there any ingredient I can replace it with?

  23. jenyu says:

    Ana – probably regular stout will do just fine.

  24. Crystal says:

    If you do make it to Ft Collins, most of the breweries let you taste the beer for free, plus they give you a tour! It’s always a fun activity!! I will try this chili, looks very different and I am always looking for something out of the ordinary… Same old food just gets boring. Currently, my favorite chili is Washabinaros Chili (can be found on which is also a beer chili (plus coffee and wasabi and…). THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR BEER RECIPE, I AM EXCITED TO TRY IT!!!

  25. hannah says:

    I made this tonight and it was perfect for the stormy New England weather–thank you!

  26. Recipe: beef and beer chili « the lay gastronomer: says:

    […] October 2010 in Recipes | Tags: Chili I’ll keep this post nice and tidy.  This “chocolate stout chili” rocks.  I’ll call mine a “beef and beer chili” since I used a can of Guinness, but it […]

  27. Jeremy says:

    I haved used oatmeal stout and added 2 peices of Dove dark Choc at the end and its wonderful. I am trying choc stout beer instead of oatmeal now and wondering if I should add the dove at the end.. I guess I will see! It sounds strange but try adding actual dark chocolate to the chili~

  28. martha z. says:

    My go-to chili recipe! 5 stars everytime. Thank you so much!

  29. Pam says:

    making chili for a neighborhood chili cookoff this weekend and I always add beer to my recipe. Was contemplating adding a chocolate stout this time (my local favorite is Southern Tier) and decided to see if this was reasonable (I thought it would be, but decided to google). I am glad I found your site, not to pirate your recipe (because mine is pretty good as well), but to get the confidence to add the chocolate stout this weekend! And to be honest, our recipes are rather close…I use skirt steak or london broil instead of ground beef, no bullion, and I add paprika as well.


    Havertown, PA

  30. Madison smith says:

    This looks like a great recipe! I actually work in the beer industry and Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is one of my favorites. I have one in my fridge now and was contemplating adding it to my chili recipe, but wanted to see how it worked out for others first. Great pictures of the ingredients!

  31. 35 Chili Recipes For Fall | Aggie's Kitchen says:

    […] Chili 7 Chili Chili Chocolate Stout Chili Crockpot Black Bean Chili with Lime and Cilantro Farmgirl Chili Beer Chili Cincinnati Chili Simple […]

  32. Cooking with Beer: Recipes and Techniques > Start Cooking says:

    […] sounds unusual but it’s quite a popular flavor combination. Jen has what looks like a fabulous Chocolate Stout Chili photo-tutorial that is also made with jalapenos. If you know how to brown beef, chop an onion, cut jalapenos, and […]

  33. Melissa says:

    I have never, in my life, heard anyone describe mise in place the way you did. I wonder if my instructor would except that as an answer?
    I’m going to school to get my certificate for Food and Beverage Operations.

  34. TJ says:

    I made this tonight with an oatmeal stout and it was outstanding. I am going to modify it a bit by using ground chicken, garbanzo beans, Serrano chilis, and Stone IPA.

  35. Patrick says:

    Chocolate stout isn’t overrun with chocolate, its the perfect balance. And any thing belongs in chili any ingredient you deem fit its not written in stone. So relax Mr ” pro “. Live a little that’s what they call creativity.

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