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Michael Mina's Rocky Mountain Chili
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Makes: 8 to 10 servings

This chili, from Chef Michael Mina’s Handle Bar restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a bold combination of elk, beans, tomatoes, and spices, with a surprise addition of dark chocolate.

Game plan: Like all stews, this chili improves as it sits, so it’s a great dish to make ahead.

Read about our tailgate with Chef Mina here.


  1. 1In a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat renders, about 5 minutes. Add the ground elk or beef and brown over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes.
  2. 2Add the brown sugar, cumin, ancho chile powder, chili powder, paprikas, coriander, and measured salt, stir to coat the meat evenly, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the spices are deep brown in color and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are just beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
  3. 3Add the coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, chipotles, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
  4. 4Add the beans and simmer for 30 minutes more, uncovered and stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  5. 5Serve garnished with cheddar, scallions, sour cream, and Fritos.
  • Michael Mina's Rocky Mountain Chili
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