WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: Martha Stewart attends the 2022 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at Washington Hilton on April 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
The Secret Ingredient That Kicks Martha Stewart's Chili Up A Notch
By Kalea Martin
As Martha Stewart shared in an Instagram post, she makes her chili — which resembles Cincinnati chili — with a combination of ground beef, fire-roasted tomatoes, chili powder, and no beans. Her recipe also includes an ingredient that may be surprising to anyone who didn't grow up eating traditional Cincinnati chili.
Cincinnati chili typically calls for several dessert-forward spices, including cinnamon, cumin, and allspice, but Stewart only uses cocoa powder in addition to chili powder, black pepper, and jalapeño. When unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder is combined with chili, they bring out the smoky and earthy flavors in each other, adding a distinct richness to the dish.
The chef uses equal amounts of chili powder and cocoa powder (two tablespoons of each) in her recipe, which specifically calls for Dutch-process cocoa powder, as it has a lower acidity level and a lighter chocolate flavor with more earthy notes. To incorporate the cocoa powder into her chili, Stewart adds it with the other spices after sautéing the onion, garlic, and jalapeño.