Gaucho Coffee-Chocolate Chilli


espite my healthy lifestyle the last few weeks have been fairly boozy. What with dinner parties, celebrations and an invitation to Kensington Palace (don’t ask), heading home to the Wiltshire countryside for some fresh air couldn’t have been a better cure this weekend. Warming crowd pleasing comfort food, dog walks and long girly catchups over coffee. Saturday evening, with the ‘forage in the pantry’ kitchen all to myself it was time to get cooking these crowd pleasers. And what could be more warming and enticingly friendly than a big bowl of chilli. Whether you eat it solo, topped with guacamole and soured cream or cheese. On mash, rice, nachos, cornbread or puffing pillowing flatbreads I’ve never met a chilli hater.

I’ve religiously used the same go-to recipe for years for my chilli (see here). With such a delicious recipe to hand I’ve never felt the need to deviate? However, with an urge to avoid the booze I decided to replace the wine with coffee. Hear me out.  And some chocolate. Please hear me out. Chocolate and coffee clearly are not a sweetener here but a subtle, earthy dark and meaningful background flavour to the slow roasted beef. If I’m honest, my true inspiration for this recipe was the newly released Doble & Bignal coffee infused dark chocolate bar. Having used this delicious chocolate in my recipes before I’m well aware of its flavour. So naturally it seemed like the perfect ingredient here. Delicious and dark. Puerto Cabello and Johe cocoa beans infused with Kilimanjaro Machare and Brazilian Rainforest coffee.

So….while my usual chilli recipe is a regular go to, this is a little deviation. No wine, slow cooked using chunks or melting beef its a lovely alternative. Oh and did I mention the chocolate!?

A variation on my all time favourite chilli recipe (see here)

Serves 4

  • 500-700g diced beef (brisket works well)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 heaped tsp each- ground cumin, coriander, chilli powder, smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 dried ancho chilli (or feel free to use poblano or chilpotle)
  • 1 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 250ml hot strong coffee
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans, beans
  • 20g dark chocolate, grated. I used Doble & Bignall’s Coffee Infused Dark Chocolate (Must be 70% plus cocoa)
  • To serve (some suggestions)- soured cream, guacamole, cornbread, rice, grated cheese, baked potatoes, nachos, flatbreads…
  1. Start by heating a large heavy based casserole dish with a splash of oil and preheat the oven to 160°C
  2. Soak the dried chilli in the hot coffee to rehydrate.
  3. Soften the onion and pepper for 10 minutes in the casserole dish and oil. Once softened add the garlic, chopped chilli, bay leaves and the ground spices. Cook out for a few more minutes. You may need to add a touch more oil if it gets too dry.
  4. Once the dried chilli is rehydrated, remove from the coffee and chop. Add to the casserole dish with a splash of the coffee and give everything a good stir. Season well.
  5. Add the rest of the coffee, the sugar and the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the diced meat and I’ve everything a good stir. Ensure the meat is fully submerged. If not, add a touch more coffee or hot water.
  6. Bring to the simmer on the hot. Once hot, put a lid on the dish and place in the oven for 3 hours in total.
  7. After the first hour, give everything a good stir. After 2 hours, stir in the kidney beans and return to the oven. If the chilli is looking too watery remove the lid. If too thick, add a splash more water.
  8. After 3 hours remove from the oven. Use a few forks to lightly pull apart any large chunks of meat which should now be very tender. Add the grated chocolate and check the taste and seasoning. At this point the chilli can be simmered for longer on the hob or int he oven to thicken and reduce the liquid or kept warm until ready to serve with whatever side you like.

Jess - Coffee, chocolate chilli con carne