Chili Made With Chocolate? – Definitely!

For whatever reason, go to any tropical destination and you’ll find hot and spicy food being served regardless of the temps. Seems a little counterintuitive but there comes a time when you need to stop fighting it. So, in the spirit of going with the flow and embracing the summer heat, here is an awesome spicy chili recipe from Epicurious.com. (Please visit them so they don’t get mad at me for sharing their recipe!)

And of course, it uses chocolate. Come on, this is  a Chocolate Blog. What do you expect?!

It has a lot of ingredients but with the exception of toasting some chiles, it’s basically just add, stir and cook. And as any cook knows, part of the fun is making a recipe your own so feel free to experiment.

Pinto-Bean Mole Chili
2 medium dried ancho chiles, wiped clean
1 dried chipotle chile, wiped clean
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and cooled
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 pound kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
1 1/4 cups water
3 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed. Heat a dry heavy medium skillet over medium heat until hot, then toast chiles, opened flat, turning and pressing with tongs, until pliable and slightly changed in color, about 30 seconds. Tear into small pieces.

Pulse cumin seeds and chiles in grinder until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in oregano, cinnamon, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Cook onions in oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then add chile mixture and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in zucchini and kale and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Add zest, sugar, chocolate, tomatoes with their juice, and water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in beans and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt.

It’s very popular to use chocolate in savory dishes these days. I’ve seen it with chicken, fish and even barbecue ribs. If you have a favorite chocolate dish, sweet or savory, feel free to share it with us!

Mangia!

PS – Thank you, Epicurious.com for the use of your recipe. Nutritional info available at Epicurious.com. Photo credit – Romulo Yanes