beef meat

Braised Beef in Dark Chocolate and Chili Sauce [Recipe]

Rightfully so, dark chocolate is very popular in desserts. However, dark chocolate has the perfect combination of sweetness, bitterness and smooth texture to perfectly add a layer of complexity and silkiness to many savory dishes.

Barbecue sauces, stews, ribs, braised meats and other rich foods can all be improved and intensified by the addition of dark chocolate. When cooking with dark chocolate, remember that it’s rather sweet and it burns easily, so it has to be used conservatively and cooked gently as to not overpower the dish with sweetness or burnt flavor.

About this Dark Chocolate Braised Beef Recipe

Rating: 4.5/5Serves: 4 ServingsDifficulty: MediumApprox. Cost: $30.00
Prep Time: 30 MinutesCook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutesTotal Time: 4 hours

This dish is full of dark, deep and rich flavors that are sure to satisfy. As the beef slowly cooks with the red wine and the chilis, it’s gradually tenderized and permeated with gentle spice and tannic punch – flavors that are perfectly complemented by the sweetness and bitterness of the chocolate.

All of these combine to form a delicious, well-rounded and profoundly complex sauce that coats the juicy, succulent braised beef in a silky cloak of incredible taste. Serve this over mashed sweet potatoes for a hearty and soul-warming meal on a cold night.

This recipe calls for braising the beef in the oven, but if you don’t have an oven-safe pot, you could also simmer it on very low heat, tightly covered. Alternatively, this recipe could also be made in a slow cooker.


  • 3 pounds (1.8 kg) beef chuck, cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil for searing
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped large
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped large
  • 6 cloves whole garlic, peeled
  • 1 red jalapeno, chopped large
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) red wine
  • 3 cups (750 ml) beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) dark chocolate bar, broken up


  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC).
  2. Pat the beef dry and liberally season with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over high heat in a Dutch oven or large, oven-safe pot.
  3. Sear the beef on high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Remove the beef from the pot, turn off the heat and wipe out any excess oil.
  4. Turn the heat back on medium and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the vegetables, tomato paste and spices. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables start to caramelize.
  5. Add the flour to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the red wine, beef stock and herbs. Bring to a simmer and return the beef to the pot. The liquid should come about 2/3 up the side of the beef, add some water if needed.
  7. Wrap the pot with foil and cover with the lid. Bake for 2 ½ hours to 3 hours or until the beef is fork tender.
  8. Remove pot from the oven, carefully remove the chunks of beef, cover them with a little sauce and set aside.
  9. Return the pot to medium heat on the stove and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce reaches a thick consistency that coats a spoon, skim off any excess fat.
  10. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate to the pot and stir to allow the chocolate to melt. Season to taste if necessary.
  11. Return the beef to the pot, serve with the sauce and cooked vegetables.

Image: Markus Spiske

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