Laura’s Chili Vanilli

Main Dishes | November 16, 2015 | By

Chili Vanilli

Happy Monday everyone!  I’m really excited to share one of my coworker’s chili recipes with you today.  I first tasted this chili last week when my team hosted a chili cook-off contest. Each contestant not only had to make an A-plus chili, but had to make enough to feed approximately 40 people. And boy, the contest was a hit. Seven team members participated in the chili cook-off and the rest of us had the hard job of picking the winner. This chili recipe was hands down the crowd favorite. In fact, I loved it so much that I made a batch for a Friendsgiving potluck last weekend.

The origin of this recipe is pretty amusing. According to my coworker Laura, her fiancé found this recipe while scrolling a chat board for one of his favorite bands. Who post chili recipes on band websites? Who knows, but I’m glad that they did.

My favorite thing about this chili is its unique chocolatey flavor. You can taste the chocolate stout and coffee in every bite. I know it sounds like those two ingredients shouldn’t be found in a chili, but they complement the red kidney beans and variety of peppers very nicely.

The great thing about chili is that it’s so hard to mess up! In fact, the hardest thing about this dish is all the chopping. To make this chili less intensive, I chopped all the ingredients the night before and used my slow cooker to keep the chili cooking throughout the day. I hope you enjoy! 
Chili Vanilli

Chili Vanilli
Serves 12
Write a review
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
3 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr 50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
3 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr 50 min
  1. 1 Lb of Ground Beef (I used prime rib)
  2. 3/4 Lb of Ground Chicken Breakfast Sausage (remove the chicken from the sausage casings)
  3. 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  4. 1 1/2 Yellow Onions
  5. 2 Large Cloves of Garlic
  6. 2 Shallots
  7. 3 Fresh Tomatoes
  8. 1 Bottle of Chocolate Stout
  9. 1 Cup of Beef Broth
  10. 1 Cup of Brewed Coffee
  11. 12 Ounces of Tomato Paste
  12. 1/2 Cup + 1 Tsp of Coconut Sugar
  13. 2 Pasilla Peppers, deseeded
  14. 1 Habanero Pepper, deseeded
  15. 1 Red Bell Pepper, deseeded
  16. 1 Jalapeno Pepper, deseeded
  17. 1/2 Serrano Pepper, deseeded
  18. 1 Can of Organic Corn (approximately 9 ounces drained)
  19. 1 Tsp of Salt
  20. 1 Tbsp of Cocoa Powder
  21. 1 Tbsp of Ground Cumin Seed
  22. Fresh Oregano
  23. 2 Cans of Organic Red Kidney Beans (approximately 20 ounces drained)
  1. Dice onions, garlic and shallots and set aside. Heat oil in a large pot at medium-high heat and add diced ingredients until onions become fragrant. Add ground beef and breakfast sausage. Stir and cook until meat is brown. You want to make sure the meat keeps the ground consistency so occasionally use a fork to break up the meat.
  2. While the meat and onion mixture cooks, dice the fresh tomatoes. Add the tomato, beer, brewed coffee, tomato paste and beef broth to your pot. Add in spices and coconut sugar.
  3. Turn the heat on low while you remove the seeds and carefully dice all your peppers.  Stir in one can of kidney beans, corn and peppers. Simmer for at least two hours. If you are using a slow cooker, transfer your chili at this stage. After you simmer, add the rest of the kidney beans and allow to cook on low heat for at least one more hour.
  4. Serve your chili or chill and reheat the next day.
Adapted from adapted from Laura
Adapted from adapted from Laura
à la main
Chili Vanilli

Chili Vanilli

Chili Vanilli

Chili Vanilli

Chili Vanilli


  1. Leave a Reply

    December 5, 2015

    So I’m the creator behind this recipe and the one who posted it on the Phish message boards about 6 years ago now. it was a recipe I came up with for a chili cook off in Sonoma County California. It was made mostly out of stuff I already had in my kitchen at the time, including the peppers which I had grown myself that year. I purchased the meat from my local butcher and just threw the rest together going through my cupboards and building the layers and flavors as I tasted as it simmered. I’m so glad that I made sure I wrote everything down as I went along just in case I had a winner. Which in fact I did win, both judges and peoples choice for a clean sweep. The following year I took second in judges and first in peoples choice, and the third year I again swept the competition with a revised recipe that I’ll list below. It’s the same base ingredients more or less but I wanted some more texture and chew so I did a citrus braised pork belly instead of the sausage that I then chill, chop into wedges and then quickly deep fry before going into the chili on the second day’s simmer. I also switched up the peppers I use to give a flavor profile that is a bit more complimentary and authentic with the deep mole like richness that this chili imparts. I’m glad this recipe has brought so many people so much happiness and is still being enjoyed and discovered by new people 6 years later.

    Great pictures by the way, thank you and your co-worker for sharing this! I’ll just be sending people to this site from now on when they want the recipe :)

    Chili Vanilli 2.0
    1 Lbs Grass Fed Organic Ground Chuck
    2-3 Lbs Citrus Braised pork belly then chopped into wedges,deep fried quickly for 1.5 minutes
    2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
    2 Onions / 1 Yellow 1 Red Chopped
    2 Large Cloves of Garlic minced
    2 small Shallots Chopped
    2 Cups Diced Tomato Can or fresh is fine
    1 12oz Bottle Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. Any stout will work fine but this one is epic if you can find it.
    1 Can Beef Broth
    1 Cup Premium brewed Coffee
    2 cans of tomato paste
    1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
    2 Tablespoons Vietnamese style Chili Sauce
    2 Ancho Chile Chopped (whole dried) – Toast for 2 min then reconstitute in hot tap water about 20 min)
    2 Chile Pasilla Negro Chopped (whole dried) – Toast for 2 min then reconstitute in hot tap water about 20 min)
    2 Chile Bhut Jolokia Very Small Chopped very fine (whole dried) – Toast for 2 min then reconstitute in hot tap water about 20 min)
    2 Chile Mulato Large (whole dried) – Toast for 2 min then reconstitute in hot tap water about 20 min)
    2 Chile Smoked Serranno Chopped very fine (whole dried) – Toast for 2 min then reconstitute in hot tap water about 20 min)
    1 Chile Anaheim Roasted and Chopped
    1 Red Pepper Roasted and chopped
    1 1/2 teaspoon Ground Guajillo Chiles
    1 Teaspoon Salt
    1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa (I now use a mayan cocoa wich has a touch of cinnamon)
    1 Tablespoon ground Cumin seed
    1 Teaspoon Oregano
    1 Teaspoon Coriander
    4 Cups of cooked Kidney Beans, fresh is much better but canned is fine.

    ** Top with a goats milk feta or regular feta minced with kumquats or orange zest **

    Braise pork belly (Any citrus braising recipe will work fine) Store overnight in refrigerator then cut into wedges deep fry on day 2. Cut into bite sized chunks and add to chili for the second stewing.

    Heat oil.
    Cook onions till softened with the garlic and all the spices and meat until brown. Add a little bit of salt to help sweat the onions.
    Add the tomatoes, beer, coffee, tomato paste and beef broth.
    Add the Chili paste, and the brown sugar
    Stir in 1/2 of the kidney beans and all of the chopped peppers.
    Reduce heat and simmer for to 2 hours.
    Store overnight in refrigerator
    Day 2
    Add the other half of the kidney beans and the braised/fried pork belly and reheat and simmer for 1-2 hour before serving.

    • Leave a Reply

      December 6, 2015

      I’m so glad you posted your original recipe in the first place. Not only does it taste great, but it has a great story to go with it. I seriously cannot get enough of your chili! How did you stumble across this post, by the way? :)

      Thanks, too, for the Chili Vanilli 2.0. Need to try it out! Sounds delicious.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: