Chili Cook-Off Contender: Just Cry for Joy Chili

One of the things that I love about chili is there are so many variations on the dish. Even ones that have the same predominant ingredients can have very different tastes.

When I made my first shout out last July for chili recipes, one of the first emails I received was from Chuck Landry. Chuck’s enthusiasm was contagious and I put the recipe early in line when I was ready to start making chilis (not in the heat of the summer).

This chili has some complex flavors. The Shiraz wine and dark chocolate bring a depth and richness to the chili.

I made one substitution. I looked for the Jacob’s ladder beans and could not find them so I substituted pinto. I was very surprised to not see one bit of chili powder in the recipe.

I soaked the beans overnight. Make sure you stir them often to expose more of the beans to the water and ensure they are soft before you add them to the chili.

Two bulbs of garlic. It takes a while to dice two bulbs. All in all, it was about 1/2 cup of minced garlic. I think that is the most I’ve ever put in a single dish. Good thing I love garlic!

The beans in the bottom.

The onion and peppers. I upped the number of peppers to six. Even then it was not spicy.

The ground meat on top. Twice I opened up the lid and using a potato masher, broke apart the large chunks.

Cooking away.

The chili was very different than those I am used to. I liked the depth of flavors, but missed the heat and chili taste.

Just Cry for Joy Chili by Chuck Landry


  • 1 cup of Ansazi or Jacob’s ladder beans (sometimes know as Jacob’s cattle beans) (soaked overnight or at least for 8 hours)
  • 1 cup of black beans (soaked overnight)
  • 3-4 lbs. of ground sirloin tip steak (makes all the difference from just buying ground chuck)
  • 1 megga sized spanish onion (medium dice)
  • 2 whole bulbs of garlic (finely chopped) – yeah, you heard me two, this ain’t nana’s chili
  • 4 chipotle peppers (very finely chopped) in adobo sauce – you get these guys canned and the heat is pretty “special”
  • 16 oz. of crushed tomatoes (canned or you can just x out the top of a bunch of tomatoes, seed them, blanch them in boiling water for a bit and voilà tomates concassées – just mash them up)
  • 6 oz. of a good shiraz wine
  • 4 oz. of a good balsamic vinegar (make sure there’s no caramel in the ingredients – a sure sign of a lesser grade balsamic)
  • 4 ½ oz. of dark chocolate broken in medium-sized chunks (we’re talking at least 75% cocoa here – no milk chocolate allowed)
  • Olive oil


Yes, I know, a chili with no kidney beans, trust me this will make the kid bean obsolete the next time you think of chili – well maybe not obsolete, but you certainly won’t miss it in this baby – go with me on this!

• I make mine in a slow cooker, but it could probably also be made in a crock pot in a 350F oven as well (cooking time may vary).

• In a large sauté pan drizzle in some olive oil, wait for it to get warm then add your onion, cook until almost caramelized then add your garlic and chipotle peppers, cook for approx. 5-10 minutes on low-med. heat (some may say that this is an unnecessary step, but I really feel that by pre-cooking your onions and garlic it gives another layer of savouriness {in my world savouriness is a word} to the chili.

• In the slow cooker I then add the beans, the onion/garlic/pepper mix, the crushed tomatoes, the wine, the balsamic vinegar and the steak (and no, I don’t pre-cook the steak, reason being? Texture, I find that by adding the ground up steak raw to the chili it ends up being much more tender than if I were to cook it prior – so with the slight crunchiness of the onion, the beans and the heat incorporated into this chili the tenderness of the meat balances it out to perfection – it also gives the chili a chance to say a proper hello to the taste of the meat).

• At this point if there isn’t enough liquid to cover the beans simply add water or I also like adding tomato juice or even a good beef stock (whatever you have in the kitchen or whatever floats your boat … uh … chili).

• This takes a good 7-8 hours of cook time before it’s ready (the epitome of slooooow cooking), roughly about 2 hours before it’s ready I’ll add the chocolate to this heavenly mess of goodness.

Note: now you can serve as is for sure, I like serving it with some of my garlic bread (but this bread has a healthy twist to it) – just take a regular baguette, slice it in half drizzle with a bit of olive oil and place it on a cookie sheet (cut side up) in a pre-warmed oven at 350F for about 10-15 minutes.

Once it is warmed and slightly crunchy you remove it from the oven and rub is vigorously (like go to town on it man) with fresh garlic – it may take three or four cloves to properly cover the bread.

You just break the bread into chunks and serve as a side to this mah-velously nummy dish {again, in my world nummy is a word … actually is should really be a word, it’s made for dishes like these}.

Making it purty: top with chopped up Italian parsley or scallions.

Note Note: The only thing that I wouldn’t serve as a side (and I mention this only because one of my friends suggested it – to my horror I might add) is a side salad – I mean c’mon … I love a salad just as much as the next guy but with CHILI???? No way, nuh-uh, nope …. Some things are just wrong (i.e. cream in your risotto – nope, wrong) salad as a side to a chili – sadly wrong.

So grab a nice cold beer, or finish off that great shiraz sit yourself down and enjoy this hunk of love in a bowl.

Oh oh … Note Note Note: I guess a vegetarian alternative would be to substitute the meat for four or five large Portabellas medium-diced (just make sure you take out the ribs {the dark lines underneath the cap} since they can sometimes be quite bitter) – just add the mushrooms to the remaining ingredients for a veggie chili  –  my sympathies are served with this version …

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Categories: Beef, chili, Chocolate, kosher, Low Carb, Lunch, Recipes, vegetable3, Wine

Author:The Ranting Chef

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13 Comments on “Chili Cook-Off Contender: Just Cry for Joy Chili”

  1. October 11, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Cold weather is upon us. Thanks for the recipe. It is still in the high 80’s here. So we eat chili anyways.


  2. October 11, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Yeehaw! I am looking forward to making this!


  3. October 11, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    2 bulbs of garlic!
    We don’t have navy beans in England and my boys don’t like kidney beans so I tend to use borlotti beans instead.


  4. October 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Cocoa powder does add depth to chili. In place of chili powder I suggest using ancho chili powder. It provides flavor but almost no heat.


  5. October 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Last time I made chili I decided to mix things up, and added Sriracha! Turned out delicious 🙂

    Thanks for sharing,
    -Tina from


  6. October 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    These Chilli recipes are great 🙂


  7. October 12, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    On top of the ususal meat, garlic, onion, beans and tomato base I use fresh chilis for heat (home grown at the moment) and usually add two teaspoons of Spanish pimenton, one of English mustard, one of garum masala, a splash of Worcester sauce, whatever chocolate powder we have in the house, a glass of red wine, bottle of beer or a can of Guinness and if we have a a jar open, some horseraddish sauce, wasabi or harissa paste.


  8. October 12, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    That looks delicious!!!! I’m definitely going to try that. Yum! Yum!


  9. October 12, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Oh wow… my mouth is watering. Will have to make this one soon, now that autumn is in full swing!


  10. October 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Found your blog all on my lonesome, Pat! My hubby and I are invited to a chili cook-off next Friday. This recipe really seems simple (even though cook time is longish). I might have to try this one!


  11. October 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Wow…this looks impressive. I am a chili experimenter and this is certainly a worthwhile recipe to try. I am excited.

    Erin –


  12. October 13, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I looked up Shiraz wine. I am going to keep me eye for it. This is a VERY different chili recipe. Thank you for sharing it.



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