Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chocolate Chili

This summer I had a 10 year reunion with some of my old roommates from Mexico. We had a great time reminiscing and gorging ourselves on margaritas and fajitas. Food (and drink) was a big part of our time in Mexico, and a decade later I can really see how it has influenced my palette and my cooking style. Tequila, lime, cilantro, jicama, beans, chilies, tortillas -- these are some of my favourite things. (Except for chicharrón - I never learned to like that stuff!) Another thing I never learned to love was mole (the sauce, not the animal, although I wouldn't like that either.) So when my friend PJ told me about this amazing chili recipe that uses unsweetened baker's chocolate, I was a little skeptical. I trust PJ though, and she didn't let me down!

She said she got the recipe from, but I couldn't find the actual link for it. I made a few changes to it anyway, so here's my version:

1 lb. ground beef chuck
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Poblano chili, seeded and diced (I think I used a ginormous jalapeno, but I'm not entirely sure - my pepper identification skills are limited)
1 red pepper, chopped
2 - 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 c. chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tbsp. chili powder (I used 1 tsp. Louisiana Hot & Spicy Dip Mix, 1 tsp. Pueblo Bean Dip Mix, and 1/4 tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 oz. Baker’s unsweetened chocolate or Mexican chocolate
15 oz. black beans, drained
15 oz. red kidney beans, drained
15 oz. romano beans, drained
1 c. frozen corn
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
6 limes, juice only (I only used 3 limes because my husband doesn't like lime as much as I do)
sour cream, to garnish
grated cheddar cheese, to garnish

Brown beef over high heat and set aside. Reduce heat and sauté onion, garlic, chili, and red pepper until soft. Add beef and stir in remaining ingredients (except for beans, corn, cilantro, and lime juice). Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Add beans and corn and simmer for another hour. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir in cilantro and lime juice, and serve with sour cream and cheese on top.

This was delicious! There was just the tiniest hint of chocolate and lime - you wouldn't even notice it if you weren't looking for it, but it adds a little something. With the exception of the beans, my kids both loved this chili. And hey, even I picked out the beans when I was a kid.
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