Friday, November 22, 2013

Chocolate Chili

I made this vegetarian black bean chili with some Venezuelan chocolate that was a gift from my favorite chocolatier. It was this year's entry into our local chili cook off. I realize Venezuelan chocolate is difficult to find, so  use any good grade of dark chocolate. I can usually find Guittard 72% or Valhrona 71% dark chocolate at specialty grocery stores. I've also found an excellent dark chocolate, Cacao Dark, at Trader Joe's. If you still can't find any dark chocolate, use baker's chocolate, but do increase the sweetener, as baker's chocolate is quite bitter.

The chocolate in this chili is balanced by spicy notes, with added sweetness from the raisins, and is tempered by the smoothness of the cheese.


2 C dried black beans (or use 4 cans low sodium black beans)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onions (about 1-1/2 onions)
1 tsp. minced garlic, about 2 cloves
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
2 Anaheim chilies, seeds and veins removed, then diced
1 jalapeno, minced (remove seeds and veins if you want mild heat)
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2  14 oz. cans stewed tomatoes
1-2 cups of bean cooking water, water, or vegetable stock
1/4 cup raisins, chopped
1 adobo chili in adobo sauce, minced
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground anise
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 Tbs. sweet paprika
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1 cup grated muenster

Directions: Cover dried beans with water and soak overnight. The next day, bring the beans to a boil with the bay leaf, and cook for about 1-1/2 hours until they begin to soften. Do not drain the beans, as the cooking water will be used. If using canned beans, soaking and cooking is not required, but do drain them, using water or stock instead of bean cooking water. Simply add the bay leaf along with the remaining spices.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot, then add the onions, garlic, celery and peppers. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice vinegar, and strain the juice from the tomatoes into the pot. Chop the tomatoes, then add them to the pot, along with the cooked beans. Add the beans to the pot. Add the raisins, chili, and spices. Stir in the sugar and continue to cook until the flavors meld. Add the chopped chocolate before serving, then cook an additional 5 minutes to make sure the chocolate has melted. Stir. Taste, adding more sugar if using baker's chocolate. Serve in bowls, topped with 1 tsp. cilantro and 1 Tbs. grated muenster cheese.

Serves 8-10

Stealthy Cooking Tip: The health benefits of small amounts of dark chocolate are a chocolate lover's dream. This chili has a small amount of chocolate. You'll taste it in the mix, but the beans are still at the heart of the show. And, beans have so many healthy benefits! High in fiber and protein, a perfect meal for a cool night. And a vegetarian plus. Make this vegan by omitting the grated cheese.

1 comment:

Ally said...

Chocolate chili- that sounds amazing Maire!