Chicken Mole-Ish Chili Recipe

While chocolate is most often reserved for baked goods, mole sauce is an exception that allows us to incorporate the beloved sweet treat into savory dishes. This chicken mole-ish chili recipe showcases just how delicious chocolate can be in a savory context. Before you start to worry that your chili will taste overly sweet, rest assured that the chocolate only helps enhance other flavors. "The idea of putting chocolate in chili might seem off putting, but the chocolate helps to balance the heat of the dish and adds an earthy flavor," recipe developer Julianne De Witt explains. And, before you spring for some fancy chocolate, De Witt assures us that just about any type of dark chocolate will do the trick: "No need to use Mexican chocolate in this recipe (unless you want to); I use 75% dark chocolate."

Aside from the addition of chocolate, you can count on plenty of other exciting flavor factors in this mole-ish chili. As De Witt says, "It's spicy, healthy, hearty, and a little different from the usual chili we all know and love." Perfect for chilly, winter evenings, you may never go back to your chocolate-less chili after trying out this mole-inspired recipe.

Gather the ingredients for chicken mole-ish chili

You'll kick off this recipe by searing chicken breasts in a little bit of olive oil. Then, you'll begin building the chili itself with help from onion, red pepper, garlic, crushed tomatoes, and beer — something as simple and inexpensive as Modelo will work just fine. Next up, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce add a nice heat to the dish, while salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon sticks all add their respective flavors. Dark chocolate, canned chickpeas, and canned pinto beans round out the ingredients list.

When it comes time to serve, you may want to top off your bowl with an assortment of garnishes. De Witt opts for sliced avocado, sliced red radishes, sour cream, lime wedges, and cilantro as her garnishes of choice, though you can top off your chili with whatever ingredients you want.

Step 1: Add oil to pot

Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a large pot over high heat.

Step 2: Sear the chicken

Sear chicken until lightly browned on all sides, approximately 2 minutes.

Step 3: Remove chicken

Remove chicken from pot and set aside.

Step 4: Add more oil

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pot. Reduce heat to medium-high.

Step 5: Saute the vegetables

Add onion, peppers, and garlic to the pot and saute lightly for 2 minutes.

Step 6: Stir in tomatoes and beer

Add tomatoes and beer, then stir to combine.

Step 7: Add spices

Add chipotles, salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon sticks. Stir to combine.

Step 8: Stir in the chocolate

Add chocolate and stir until melted.

Step 10: Add chicken and beans, then simmer

Stir in the beans and chicken. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Step 11: Garnish and serve

Ladle chili into bowls and garnish with a squeeze of lime, a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado, radishes, and cilantro.

How can you customize this chicken mole-ish chili?

The easiest way to customize this chili is to follow the recipe itself closely but get creative with the toppings. As De Witt says, "The garnish is customizable, but I really like the addition of lime at the end, and the sour cream balances out the heat." Other garnish options include a different herb, chopped red onion, or a sprinkle of shredded cheese.

Should you want to switch things up in the recipe itself, there's room for that, too. "I use crushed tomatoes to achieve the silky base of the chili," says De Witt. "For a chunkier chili, substitute half of the crushed tomatoes with diced canned tomatoes." One thing you definitely don't want to skip or swap is the Mexican oregano, which is indeed different from plain oregano. "Mexican oregano is different from the oregano used in Mediterranean cuisine," De Witt says. "The two species of plants are unrelated. While they share a similar flavor, Mexican oregano has more floral and citrusy notes and is a worthy addition to your pantry." 

How should you serve this chicken mole-ish chili?

There's no wrong way to serve this mole-ish chili, and you would find a bowl perfectly satisfying if you were to serve it exactly as-is, sans toppings. Of course, it's fun to load up a bowl of chili, and it's even more fun to pair your bowl alongside other dishes to provide some contrast. "Serve with some crusty bread or rice and a crisp, green salad," De Witt recommends.

Another recommended serving option is somewhat of a surprising one — serve the chili after it has sat in the fridge for a full day. "This chili tastes even better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to develop," De Witt says. And, should you go the leftover route (be it intentional or unavoidable), De Witt notes that "leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3–4 days and in the freezer for 3 months."

Chicken Mole-Ish Chili Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
With the addition of dark chocolate, beer, and a slew of mouth-tingling whole and ground spices, this chicken mole-ish chili is a certified flavor bomb.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
6
Servings
bowls of chili with toppings sitting on tea towel
Total time: 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 + 1 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16-ounce) can of beer
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (from can), minced
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced red radishes
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges
  • Chopped cilantro
Directions
  1. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a large pot over high heat.
  2. Sear chicken until lightly browned on all sides, approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pot. Reduce heat to medium-high.
  5. Add onion, peppers, and garlic to the pot and saute lightly for 2 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes and beer, then stir to combine.
  7. Add chipotles, salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon sticks. Stir to combine.
  8. Add chocolate and stir until melted.
  9. Stir in the beans and chicken. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  10. Ladle chili into bowls and garnish with a squeeze of lime, a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado, radishes, and cilantro.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 627
Total Fat 18.3 g
Saturated Fat 6.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 132.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 56.9 g
Dietary Fiber 15.0 g
Total Sugars 16.4 g
Sodium 1,459.9 mg
Protein 55.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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