This chili is hearty, loaded with chunky veggies, and has just the right amount of kick. Charred poblano peppers and espresso powder add amazing depth and flavor to this delicious chili!
We are well into soup season and I've been loving every minute of it! The laid-back cooking process of soups really allows you to let your creativity shine. I almost always end up adding a couple of ingredients I didn't plan to when cooking soups and stews, and this Chunky Chili recipe was no exception!
There are a couple of unexpected ingredients in this chili recipe that really elevate the depth and complexity of the flavors - charred poblano peppers and espresso powder!
How To Make This Chili Recipe
- First, char your poblano pepper under your oven broiler for about 4-5 minutes per side until the skin is black and blistered. If removing the skin and seeds (I left mine on for extra flavor and heat), place the pepper in a plastic zipper bag for a few minutes, then peel the thin skin off. The steam from being placed in the bag helps the skin come off easily. Slice pepper in half, remove and discard the seeds, then chop pepper.
- If leaving skin and seeds intact, simply chop your charred pepper after it has cooled enough to handle and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and bell pepper and sauté for 3-5 minutes until veggies begin to soften. Add garlic and cook for another minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add ground meat or protein of choice and cook until meat is almost cooked through. Season meat mixture with salt, black pepper, chili powder, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, ground mustard, paprika, and cumin and stir to incorporate.
- Add tomato paste and cook while stirring for about 2-3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and poblano pepper and stir to combine everything. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
- Add brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and espresso powder. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. If you like your chili a bit more soupy, add vegetable or beef broth at this time, a half cup at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. I like a really chunky chili so I did not use any broth. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Add beans and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Give everything a good stir and simmer for 10-15 more minutes.
- Serve chili immediately with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced jalapenos, and chopped green onions if desired.
Storing and Make Ahead Instructions
Leftover chili may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
You can also freeze leftover chili by placing it in a zip-top freezer bag, removing as much as possible before sealing. Wrap the sealed freezer bag in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer in a lying-down position for up to a month.
Thaw frozen chili overnight in the refrigerator. You may reheat chili on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Make this chili ahead of time and reheat it on the stovetop when ready to serve. If chili is too thick, add ¼ cup of broth at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Variations of This Recipe
You can honestly get as creative as you like when it comes to chili recipes! You can experiment with different vegetables and spices and make your chili taste however you like. Try some of these fun add-ins next time:
- Shredded chicken
- Shredded or pulled pork
- Ground pork or sausage
- Corn kernels
- Black beans
- Diced sweet potatoes
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The Best Chunky Chili
- 1 medium poblano pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey, chicken, or plant-based protein*
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes with liquid
- ½ - 1 cup vegetable or beef broth optional
- 1-2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 15 oz can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped jalapenos, and sliced green onions for topping
- Char poblano pepper under oven broiler for 3-4 minutes per side until skin is black and blistered. Chop entire pepper, seeds and all, once it has cooled enough to handle and set aside.**
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add ground meat and cook until almost cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, chili powder, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, ground mustard, and cayenne. Stir to combine.
- Add tomato paste and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, poblano peppers, brown sugar, espresso powder, and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. If using, add vegetable or beef broth at this time. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if desired.
- Add beans and stir to combine with the other ingredients. Continue to simmer for and additional 10-15 minutes.
- Serve immediately and top with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped jalapeno and sliced green onions if desired.