Monday, February 6, 2012

Chillin' with Chocolate Chili

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone is recovering from their Super Bowl parties, food and fun!

My Sunday started with an easy 8 mile run, followed by Willsey's dog training.  I was determined to get in all 8 miles since my mileage was down for the week due to my right hip pain and Saturday's yoga session.  Sometimes it is necessary to run through pain and during this run in particular, it took the first 5 miles to "warm-up" my hips.  But after that, it was smooth sailing.  

Later, we decided to have a Super Bowl party at home with just my husband, stepdaughter, and me.  My mom stopped by for a little while, but she wanted to make sure she was home to watch "every move that Eli Manning made."  As you can probably tell by the previous sentence, she LOVES Eli!
So, about this chocolate chili....

I decided to try a different twist on the typical chili recipes.  Don't get me wrong, I love chili...white chicken chili, red chili, vegetarian chili, etc.  But when I came across the recipe titled Ed's Chicago Chocolate chili, I thought I would give it a go.  

Here's the recipe:

2 lbs ground meat (any combination-turkey, sausage, beef, pork – I used organic beef)
1 onion, chopped
1 pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
5 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
2 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/8 cup orange juice
¼ cup lime juice (or juice from 1 lime)
¼ cup lemon juice (or juice from 1 lemon)

Cocoa Spice Mix
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
½ cup brown sugar (adjust to your taste)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

First, assemble the spice mix in an airtight container ahead of time.  Seasonings must be to taste, but to get that SWEET, SALTY, SPICY combo, I used the above measurements.

Next, chop up all of the vegetables.

Inside a large cast iron pot, brown meat on medium high heat.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Drain off or use the ladle to take out the excess fat, but leave some of it in the pot to fry the vegetables.

Push the meat to one side to make space to fry the vegetables.  Reduce the heat to medium high.  On the empty side of the skillet, add the onions, garlic, and jalapenos, then add all the rest of the vegetables.

Saute the vegetables for a few minutes.  Season the veggies lightly with salt and pepper.  Try to get the veggies on the bottom of the pan and the meat on top of the veggies.  This way the meat doesn't burn and the veggies get cooked.

Make a little space on the bottom of the pan and add the tomato paste.  Cook the paste for a minute, then mix everything in the pot together.  

Add the crushed tomatoes and season them with a little salt.  Stir in the cocoa spice mix.  Keep stirring and keep the chili to a very slow boil or a simmer.

Add the lemon juice, lime juice and orange juice.  Also add the dark chocolate pieces.  Let the heat from the chili melt the chocolate and then STIR, STIR, STIR.

Time to taste the chili.  If it's too hot or sour, add a little more brown sugar.  If it's not salty enough, add more salt.  Not hot enough?  Add a splash of hot sauce.  As I said, chili can be made in all different ways, so adjust the flavors to what you and your family prefer.  

Here is the plated dish...complete with cheddar cheese and sour cream and a side of corn bread.  Delish!

I also made a simple taco dip as a pre-game/pre-chili appetizer which was served with whole grain chips.  

When I asked my family to vote on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest rating...my husband gave it an 8.5.  His reasoning?  He likes a traditional tomato-based chili with lots of chunky meat and beans.  Me, on the other hand...I thought it was delicious.  Because after all, you can't go wrong with a little bit of chocolate in ANYTHING!  

How do you like your chili?  I would love to hear any different diversions you take from the traditional styles...



  1. Chocolate - hmmm, that sounds like an interesting combo, I'll have to try that and I like the idea because when I have some chocolate, it puts me in the mood to do just about anything, maybe go fishing, or even watch Eli Manning play football.

  2. Yeah, I agree with anonymous, sounds like a great recipe, I'll have to try it out for myself sometime! By the way, this blog is great, I bet it gets a ton of hits each day, growing exponentially by the day!

  3. Thanks! The chili did turn out well. My husband even had it for lunch today. Let me know if you try it and if so, how it turns out!