This chili, from Chef Michael Mina’s Handle Bar restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a bold combination of elk, beans, tomatoes, and spices, with a surprise addition of dark chocolate.
Game plan: Like all stews, this chili improves as it sits, so it’s a great dish to make ahead.
- Yield: 8 to 10 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: About 3 hrs
For the chili:
- 4 strips bacon, medium dice
- 5 pounds ground elk, or lean (15 percent fat) ground beef chuck
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
- 6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 cups brewed coffee
- 2 tablespoons bittersweet (70 percent) chocolate, broken into pieces
- 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 3 chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 ounces cheddar, grated
- 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- In a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat renders, about 5 minutes. Add the ground elk or beef and brown over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar, cumin, ancho chile powder, chili powder, paprikas, coriander, and measured salt, stir to coat the meat evenly, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the spices are deep brown in color and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are just beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
- Add the coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, chipotles, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
- Add the beans and simmer for 30 minutes more, uncovered and stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve garnished with cheddar, scallions, sour cream, and Fritos.