What can I say? I’ve been caught. Cheating on my favorite chili recipe. We had a good time, my old chili recipe and I. And I may go back every now and again, for old time’s sake. To relive the times when I made chili with a jar of salsa and cream of mushroom soup. It was easy, it was delicious. It was a little different than everyone else’s chili. But it won’t last. I can never go back for good. Now that I’ve had chili with chocolate and wine. It’s fresher. The flavor is deep and the aroma……oh the aroma. I’ve been permanently wrecked. 

It’s not actually my fault. I didn’t go seeking a new chili recipe. I went seeking a friend and her adorable two kiddos all the way in Erie, Pennsylvania. She told me we were eating pizza. Then she innocently tells me “I made a bunch of chili, lets have that for dinner!”. You know the rest. I badgered her for days through text messages and phone calls to send me her recipe. I think I used the word “stat” at one point. She texted me a picture of a sad, sad recipe card. Handwritten. Faded and worn. The sign of a true “keeper” recipe, one that’s been perfected over time. 

Let’s just get to the recipe already. My go to meat combination for chili is ground beed and sausage, always. My Erie friend makes hers with ground turkey, also delicious. And you can always go all beef. Brown your meat with a chopped yellow onion. 


Add your spices to the meat while its cooking. Chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, basil, and maybe some other stuff too. I forget already. But its on the recipe card below.



When your meat is browned and your spices stirred in nicely, add a hershey’s chocolate bar. Yes, you read that right. A hershey’s chocolate bar. Yum. In fact, buy two so you can eat one while you’re making the chili.


In case you’re tempted to add more than one bar, don’t. Trust me, one bar is plenty. 


At this point, your kitchen will smell uh-mazing. Add some wine. 1/2 cup. Really, red would be best here but I didn’t have red because I was having a Bota Box chardonnay kind of week, so that’s what I used. It was delicious. I would resist the urge to use anything too sweet though, like a riesling. You might as well put sprite in there. Gross.  Let the whole thing simmer for 5 minutes or so. At this point, if you are making ahead, transfer the meat mixture to your crock pot before adding anything else. If not, I hope you’re making this in a huge stock pot. However you choose to make this, now is when you can add your beans. 3 cans of something. I L.O.V.E. black beans. LOVE. So my go to bean combo is one can of chili beans in mild sauce and 2 cans of black beans. You do whatever you love. 


Finally, add a large jar of tomato juice. 46 ounces I think. See the recipe card. It knows for sure.  


Let the whole thing cook on low all day if it’s in the crock pot. If you’re cooking on the stove top, bring everything to a boil and then lower the temperature and simmer for at least 3 hours. We eat ours with corn bread. Yes mom, it’s a law. Enjoy! 

Write a review
  1. 1 lb. ground chuck
  2. 1 lb. pork sausage
  3. 1 yellow onion, chopped
  4. 1 (46 oz.) can tomato juice
  5. 3 can of your favorite chili bean combo. I use 2 cans of black beans (rinsed and drained) and 1 can mild chili beans, with the sauce.
  6. 1/4 cup chili powder
  7. 2 tsp. garlic salt
  8. 2 tsp. cumin
  9. 2 tsp. basil
  10. 1 tsp. hot sauce
  11. 1/2 cup wine (red is best, dry white will work)
  12. 1 hershey chocolate bar
  1. Brown your meat with your onion until cooked through.
  2. Add the spices and stir to combine
  3. Break the hershey bar up into pieces and melt into the chocolate mixture, stir well.
  4. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. At this point, if making in a crock pot, transfer the whole mixture to the crock pot before add the beans and tomato juice.
  5. Add the beans and the tomato juice, stir and bring to a boil. Cook on low for 3 hours or on low in the crock pot for 6-8.
Adapted from The Fabulous Kristen B.
Adapted from The Fabulous Kristen B.
A Sweeter Thing