Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chocolate and Black Bean Chili

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Ethnic cooking presents some challenges for smaller families. Most recipes appear to be scaled to feed armies rather than the two or three people who typically break bread at the table. Chili, a food, I love, is one of them. Several years ago I came across a recipe for Chocolate Chili Con Carne developed by Michael Chiarello for the Food Network. It sounded delicious, but it made way to much food for two of us eat and still enjoy. I've altered the recipe to make fewer servings and changed the spicing slightly. This is a nice chili, but there are certain elements of the recipe that shouldn't be changed. Masa harina, Mexican corn flour, is used to thicken the chili and if you're looking for an authentic Mexican flavor it is a must. A small quantity of Manteca, lard, is also used. Don't worry too much about the type of beer to use in the recipe. I've settled on a non-alcoholic amber ale that adds flavor without bitterness to the chili. The finished sauce, which contains chocolate, is a bit like a mole. This has been well-received whenever I serve it, though I suspect the play of flavors might be too much for kids. If you're looking for a new chili, or just want to experiment, you might like to give this a try before game day. Here's the recipe.

Chocolate and Black Bean Chili...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Michael Chiarello


1-1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1/2-inch dice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided use

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided use

2 tablespoons chili powder, divided use

Masa harina (Mexican corn flour)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lard (Manteca)

2 cups minced red onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, stems removed, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1(12-ounce) bottle beer (I like to use a non-alcoholic amber ale)

1 (14.5-oz.) Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1 cup chicken stock

1 to 2 (12-ounce) cans black beans, drained

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, cut into large chunks

Toppings: sour cream, chopped onion, grated cheese


1) Place diced chuck in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1 tablespoon chili powder. Mix well. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons masa harina and toss again to coat. The masa harina will thicken sauce as chili cooks and give it a unique Mexican flavor.

2) Heat a cast iron, or other heavy bottomed, Dutch oven on stove over medium heat. Add olive oil and, when it shimmers, add meat in one layer and brown it on all sides. Add lard to pan. Remove browned meat to paper toweling. Add the onions and garlic to pan and saute for 5 minutes over medium heat until they start to caramelize and get soft. Add jalapenos and allow to cook for 2 more minutes until soft. Add tomato paste and sugar. Add remaining teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, oregano and 1 heaping tablespoons of chili powder. Add beer. Stir to incorporate everything. Add stewed tomatoes, and stir. Return meat to pan. Add chicken stock. Simmer for 1-1/2 hours until meat is tender. Strain liquid from black beans, add beans to Dutch oven and bring up to simmer. Add chocolate and stir until it melts. Serve immediately with toppings of choice or refrigerate for 2 to 3 days. Chili may also be frozen. Yield: 5 servings.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Privacy Policy