Vice Chili

Darick Maasen, Designer / Illustrator

I don't cook often, but when I do, it's chili. This is a recipe I have been tinkering with for years, adding and removing vices. I recently added the bacon, but you could easily leave that out to stay veggie. Enjoy!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • ½ cup dates, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1½ cups strong coffee
  • 1 28-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced (less for a milder chili)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 15½-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 15½-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 thick, well-marbled strips of bacon, cut crosswise into half-inch strips
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • ½ cup whiskey


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions and garlic. Cover and cook until onions are half-cooked, then add bacon. Continue to cook until onions are mostly clear.
  2. Stir in chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, sugar, salt, chocolate, and pepper (premixed). Add tomatoes and chipotles, then stir until well blended.
  3. Add beans, dates, beer, whiskey and coffee, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom, until chili thickens (about 45 minutes to an hour). Add a little more beer or coffee, if chili becomes too thick.