Chunky Sweet Crock Chili

BEEF, BEER, COFFEE, and CHOCOLATE.  These are a few of my favorite things!

So… I had beef that needed to be used, a hankering for chili, and a husband who doesn’t like beans.  Slamming together a crock of chunky beef chili was the natural course of action.  It was another excellent Sunday football alternative to the typical fried fare, and one more reason to use my beloved slow cooker / crock pot.

This isn’t really like a traditional 3-alarm chili, but I think you will like it.  This recipe looks involved, but it is really quite easy.  Lots of ingredients, but you will notice it involves mostly canned goods and powdered spices.  Having said that, you can make it as fresh and gourmet as your abilities allow.  Talk about versatile!

Columbus sailed the ocean blue looking for a collection of spices like this!

Columbus sailed the ocean blue looking for a collection of spices like this!

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced – I used jarred.
2 pounds beef, cubed
1 can diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz no salt added
12 ounces stout beer – I used Sam Smith’s Oatmeal
8 ounces strong fresh brewed coffee – I used Kona
2 cans tomato paste, 6 oz each
1 can beef broth, 50% less sodium
1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1 tablespoon chili powder – I used chipotle
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cocoa – I used Hershey’s Special Dark
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon morton lite salt
4 chili peppers, chopped


  • Heat oil in saute pan. Saute onions and garlic until onions are tender.
  • Add beef to pan and just lightly brown.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to your large slow cooker and stir until combined.
  • Add contents of saute pan to slow cooker, making sure it is well incorporated.
  • Cover and simmer on low for 7 to 10 hours, depending on how you like your meat and making sure the meat is cooked through.

Let’s go through the ingredients one by one, as there are so many ways this can go.  Canola oil or olive oil are the healthiest oils in my cabinet, but any cooking oil will do.  I chopped my own onions, but if you can usually buy them already chopped for a bit more money.  I buy jars of minced garlic and measure out by the teaspoon.  Mincing your own garlic isn’t too hard with a good press, but having a jar on hand sure helps when I’m short on time.  If you don’t feel like chopping chili peppers, you can probably use a small can of drained peppers.  Just about any beef will do.  I happened to have some grass fed stew beef and a New York strip on hand.

Most of the canned goods can be found in a reduced sodium or no salt added variety.  I also always use Morton Lite Salt where regular salt is required.  Any dark beer should work, but you can leave the beer out altogether for better nutritional stats.  The beer really adds something, so if you can afford it… go for it.  I used oatmeal stout, but I think Guinness would be good.  A light beer might be a decent compromise.  (If you try it, let me know!)   Any strong coffee will do, but I had a nice Kona in the morning pot.  A cup of instant would probably suffice, if you have nothing else.

Adjust the spices to your liking.  Any chili powder will do, but I love chipotle chili powder.  A tablespoon might not seem like much, but this was pretty darn spicy.  Better to be safe than sorry, if you’re not sure.  This recipe could probably live without the Splenda Brown, but the beer / coffee / chocolate / brown sugar combo is out of this world.  Though I’ve not tried it, you could probably use less beef and add a couple cans of kidney beans.

Because the stats can so widely vary, you should calculate your own for the purposes of journaling.  I do have this one in my SparkRecipes recipe box, though the stats might not be very accurate.  Click on View Full Nutritional Breakdown to see how the ingredients I pulled from the Spark database differ from the ones I actually used.   A lot of the sugar comes from tomatoes, but some of it doesn’t.  Adjust according to what your diet allows.  I approximated the number of servings based on a 3 ounce serving of beef.  I measured out my 3 ounces into a cute little bowl for myself and my husband received about twice that in a regular bowl along with a warm dinner roll.


  1. Very nice blog you have and Congrats on the foodie blogroll!

  2. Thank you. Seems like a wonderful group of people. I certainly didn’t expect all these warm welcomes. :)

  3. This is a great chili recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    Welcome to the Foodie Blog roll!

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