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“Now You Know” Chili

“Now You Know” Chili

I started food blogging because . . . law school.

Today marks the last day of my second to last semester of law school (is that a thing?) I remember dreaming about going to law school as early as high school. The fact that I am about to graduate from Howard Law School this May is literally a dream come true. I was never motivated by money and never inspired by the status that being an attorney brings you. To be quite honest, I knew lawyers made a lot of money, but I had no idea how much. And, I didn’t really know any lawyers closely. I was so far removed from the world of law. I just knew that I wanted to pursue a career that I felt was meaningful. One where I could be in a position to affect change. I pursued law school because it was something I wanted for myself and I knew it would help me help other people.

After graduating from undergrad, I had so much doubt. It was the first time that my future wasn’t prescribed for me. The whole law school thing was completely up to me. I had no idea what I was doing. Like at all. So much doubt went through my mind on a daily basis. But I pushed through. I took it step by step. I researched law schools. I studied for the LSAT. I took the LSAT. I read books to become familiar with law school and how to study. And even though I didn’t know what was going on, I did my best to figure it out and gave my best effort at each point—always looking only a few steps ahead as opposed to 10.

When I started thedanareneeway, I went through the same process—a process I’m actually still going through. I knew nothing (and still don’t if we’re being completely honest) about blogging, let along food blogging, food photography, food styling, food anything. I just knew that I like to cook. And eat. I love the feeling of making people happy with the food that I’ve created. I love that a home cooked meal has the ability to warm a household or bring friends together. I started thedanareneeway because I wanted to share my food with other people. I want to share what I know about food, cooking and eating. Not knowing how to do something is a starting place, not an obstacle. That’s what law school has taught me and that is why I food blog.

If You Don’t Know, Now You Don’t Know. —Notorious B.I.G.

The reactions I got when I told people I put chocolate and coffee in chili is . . . interesting. But I promise you it’s super good and super easy–you basically just throw everything in the pot and let everything simmer until it turns into delicious chili goodness. And the chocolate and coffee make the flavor much more complex (I made that up), but I swear they are great additions. Now you know!

Now You Know Chili

November 30, 2017
: 30 min
: 1 hr 30 min
: 2 hr

equipment needed: large pot, dutch oven, or crockpot


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup beer (I used a stout)
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon strong ground coffee
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped (another hot pepper works as well, or a regular bell pepper if you don't care for the spice)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
  • Step 1 Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil and heat until it begins to glisten. Brown the meat and sauté until brown, then transfer to a dish and set aside.
  • Step 2 Without draining or removing any of the oil and fat from the beef, add the onion to the pot and stir for about a minute. The onions should still be crunchy. Add the meat back to the pot. If using a crockpot: sautée the onions and meat in a skillet, as directed in step one and two and transferred them to the crockpot. Then proceed with step 3.
  • Step 3 Stir in beer, tomatoes, tomato paste, and coffee. Add the brown sugar, sriracha, cocoa powder, pepper, cumin, coriander, and salt. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add the kidney and cannellini beans to the pot and continue to simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes to an hour. The long the simmer the better. Add additional salt as needed.

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