Sweet and Smoky Chorizo Chili

December 6, 2020

Chili is the quintessential cozy soup and an absolute necessity the minute it becomes cold outside. I put a twist on the classic chili flavors this time by amping up the sweet, smokiness and heat with Mexican chorizo, sweet potatoes, carrots and chipotle peppers in adobo. The balance of flavors, paired with a little extra tang of red wine vinegar, unfold with each bite.

People can be very particular about their chili (especially when it comes to including beans or not!) and the toppings. I like to go easy on the beans, so I’ve only included one can in this recipe, but by all means add as many different kinds as you’d like! When it comes to the tomato topic – diced, whole or sauce – I have another curveball for you… When I made this chili for the first time, I realized I was out of my usual canned diced tomatoes and only had tomato paste in the pantry! I had been craving it all day, so I decided try it anyway with the tomato paste I had on hand. I’m not usually a huge fan of tomato chunks in my chili, so this seemed like an easy solve. Diluting the tomato paste with the four cups of chicken stock and one tablespoon of brown sugar turned out to be JUST the ticket for that expected sweet tomato flavor as the base of the chili. (That extra dash of sugar was needed to curb the acidity of the tomato paste!) If you opt for the usual 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes instead of the 6-ounce can of tomato paste, I would reduce the chicken stock by 2 cups to achieve the usual thickness of chili.

When I comes to the star of the show here – the chorizo!! – be sure you look for the Mexican chorizo at the store versus Spanish chorizo. Mexican chorizo is more loose and crumbly because it is fresh ground pork sausage seasoned with chiles, spices and vinegar. You’ll need to cook it completely because it comes raw! If it comes in a casing, you can remove it and brown it like you would any other fresh sausage. Spanish chorizo, on the other hand, is a dry cured pork sausage seasoned with garlic and smoked paprika. My family and I use it in our Potaje de Garbanzos, a Cuban garbanzo bean stew, if you want to give it a try as well.

Sweet and Smoky Chorizo Chili

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Recipe by Gabriela Rodiles Difficulty: Easy


Cooking time


Total time




  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo (casings removed if needed)

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped

  • 1 six-ounce can tomato paste

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock

  • 1 fifteen-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 sweet potato, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • Diced avocado, chopped cilantro, pepitas, crema or sour cream and lime wedges for topping


  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add chorizo and cook until no longer pink, 5-8 minutes. Remove chorizo and add onion and carrot to the pot. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are soft, about 5 more minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute until the spices are toasted and the garlic fragrant. Add the tomato paste and chipotle pepper in adobo. Cook for 1 minute until the chipotle peppers are fragrant.
  • Add the chicken stock and stir to incorporate into tomato paste. Add beans, sweet potato and cooked chorizo. Add 1 teaspoon more salt and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the low heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork tender and the chili has thickened. Add the red wine vinegar and stir. Adjust the seasoning as needed. 
  • Serve and top with desired toppings.


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