Cinnamon Chorizo Chili
Comforting Spiced Chili with Chorizo and Ceylon Cinnamon
Chili is chili, right—just beans, tomatoes, ground meat, and tomatoes, with little deviation. Wrong! When it comes to this comforting favorite, there are more variations than Bubba from Forest Gump has of shrimp recipes. Think about it, there are few food types that have entire events created around them, but the age-old chili cookoff continues to be popular at summer fairs year-after-year.
While I’ve never entered this recipe in a chili cookoff, I’m pretty sure it would come in on top. Maybe I’ll give it a go next summer.
Everyone has their “secret” to a good chili recipe and mine is about to be revealed. It’s the combination of Ceylon cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and unsweetened cocoa powder that sets this recipe apart. I know, it sounds like I’m about to whip up a warm, sweet, winter beverage, but the end result isn’t sweet at all. The aforementioned ingredients provide a subtle richness and the end result is smooth and savory with deep flavor and fantastic aroma.
I like chili with a bit of heat to it, so I used a pound and a half of a spicy chorizo rojo. If you like a tamer chili and can’t find mild chorizo, replace half of the chorizo with ground pork sausage or another ground meat.
Chorizo Chili with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cocoa
- 1 ½ pounds ground chorizo
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- Olive oil
- ¾ cup dried black beans
- 3 cups water plus more for soaking
- ½ cup another dried bean (I used orca beans)
- 1 roasted poblano pepper, skin removed and chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ tablespoon dried cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ cup red wine
- 2 16-ounce cans of tomatoes with juices
- pepper to taste
- salt to taste
Soak your beans overnight in generously salted water.
Note: If you don’t want to use dry beans, replace them with canned beans drained of liquid and eliminate the water. This will decrease the cooking time by several hours. Step 4 can be eliminated.
- Add olive oil a large pot, salt your onions and sweat them over low for about 1 hour.
- Drain the beans and add them to your onions.
- Cover with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cook for about 3 hours or until the beans are tender.
- Cook your chorizo and add to the pot in the last 30 minutes.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes or more.
This chili is fantastic when served atop creamy polenta, with a side of scratch-made cornbread, or by itself. If desired, provide additional toppings such as fresh cilantro, sour cream, cotija cheese, tomatoes, and green onion.
The better the cinnamon, the better the chili. I used Ceylon Cinnamon from Sri Lanka, which has a less abrasive cinnamon flavor than the more common, Cassia variety. You can find our entire cinnamon collection here.