Chipotle Cinnamon Chili with a touch of Cocoa… and a Giveaway


The golden leaves are tumbling off the trees and crunching underfoot, we have plopped a bright orange pumpkin by the front door, and the cozy sweaters have come out of hibernation.

Must be chili weather.

For years and years, my go-to chili recipe was Sheila Lukin’s Chili for a Crowd from my beat-up Silver Palate cookbook.  It was quite popular, and never failed, but had a dizzying number of ingredients, including a full 1/3 cup of cumin.

But then one day I woke up and decided I didn’t love cumin in my chili.

My memory is a bit fuzzy on this point, but I suspect it was about this time I was introduced to my friend Jill’s cumin-less Chili.  She has one of those simple and fabulous chili recipes that has been passed around by all her friends, and served at dozens of gatherings to rave reviews.

Now you would think that I would just share her version, but I had to tweak it.  Just a bit.  OK, a bit more than a bit.  I just can’t help myself.

I think the magic ingredients in Jill’s Chili are the Chipotle Chili Powder and the Cinnamon sticks.   But I love a bit of beef broth and worcestershire sauce to enhance the beef flavor, and the deep earthiness of a chili with some cocoa powder in it… so those were added to the mix.

And Jill’s version does not have butternut squash.  It actually features a red pepper.  But honestly, I had a bit of an inventory control problem in my fridge, as I forgot to buy a red pepper at the market.  I did, however, have this fabulous little butternut squash in the crisper drawer.  As it is fall, I feel like I should be adding roasted butternut squash to everything I cook.  (My family does not necessarily agree with this point.) So in it went.  Please feel free to use a red pepper instead.

Squash or red pepper, I promise this is a crowd-pleaser.  Perfect for curling up by the fire… or the TV set to watch a bit of football.  Or the Washington Nationals.  Who just might win the World Series.


I do think it’s time for a giveaway to officially kick off the fall fun at Bourbon and Brown Sugar.  I’d love to share a copy of the current toast of the blogging community – easy gourmet: awesome recipes anyone can cook by i am a food blog writer Stephanie Le.  I adore her blog… the photography and design is jaw-dropping, and the food divine.


So here is the deal.  Leave a comment below to be eligible for a copy of the book (and if you would take a moment to follow my blog by Email or Instagram as well, I will pop an extra entry for you into my super-scientific baseball cap I pull from to draw the winners.)   Be sure to tell your friends too! The Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, October 5th.   Unfortunately, the Giveaway is for residents of the US and Canada only.

(Wow, nice to have the time to be on a blogging binge… it’s as easy as Ready, Set, Done 🙂

I just couldn’t decide which dish to bring to my friends at Fiesta Friday this week… so I’m bringing three!

Chipotle Cinnamon Chili with touch of Cocoa


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion (medium or large), diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 3 generous tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 can kidney beans


Toss the onion, garlic and butternut squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Spread on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until the onions and squash begins to brown slightly.

When you have about 15 minutes left on the roasting veggies, start the rest of the chili.  Coat the bottom of a dutch oven with a bit of olive oil, add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Drain off excessive fat and the beef stock and worcestershire sauce, cooking for a few minutes until much of the liquid is absorbed by the meat.  Add the roasted onions, squash and garlic to the beef.  Add the chili powder, chipotle chili powder and cocoa powder and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and cinnamon stick. Bring to boil over high heat then lower to a simmer for 2 or more hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, diced onions, or whatever else your family craves to accompany chili.

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