Chilli Con Carne (with Chocolate!)

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Chocolate in chilli? Really?   I was not convinced when I first came across this idea.  I mean chilli in chocolate is one thing.  But chocolate in chilli con carne?  I was not so sure. But I stewed on it for a while and decided to give it a go.  I’m so glad I did. I won’t make chilli without it anymore.  Recently I had a hankering for some good old fashioned American comfort food.  I searched and searched for my old healthy vegetarian chilli recipe and couldn’t find it anywhere. I remembered that it had cinnamon in it and heaps of beans, corn, tomatoes and that’s all I could remember.  I’d never made it for the Dragon so he didn’t know either, and requested that I include one special ingredient: meat.  So a new dish came to be.  Meat included, to make it man-friendly.

In this dish, there is a good balance between the spices, the acidity of the lime and the sweetness of the chocolate melted through.  You can’t actually taste the lime or the chocolate if you do this right, but they do add subtle layers of flavours to this dish.  It makes six servings so it is good to make on a Sunday to avoid having to cook at the beginning of the week.  The other good thing about this dish – instant excuse to eat the leftover dark chocolate for desert – we can’t have that going to waste now can we?

Ingredients

Serves 6
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red and 1 green long chilli, sliced thinly
  • 1 green and 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 tub of grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 400g can of diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of beef stock
  • 90g can corn kernels, drained
  • 400g can kidney beans, drained
  • 2-3 squares of dark chocolate
  • a squeeze of lime juice for each serve

Potential Spins

There are a number of common variations to chilli.  Some use pinto beans or other beans instead of kidney beans.  Some leave out the meat and use a variety of beans, possibly with sweet potato. You can also play with different vegetable combinations.  Of course you could leave out the chocolate and use a teaspoon of sugar instead, but that would result in a less rich flavour and I think an inferior chilli.  You could make a guacamole to top it with and sour cream would probably go well too.  This would even go well in burritos or tacos.  The recipe makes a large amount, so why not freeze some and use it for a couple of different meals?

Method

  1. Brown the onion in a large frypan.  Add the chillies once they are close to browned.
  2. Make space in the frypan to add the spices, garlic, tomato paste and enough water to make a paste.

    Stir to combine and fry until fragrant.  Mix through the onions.

  3. Add mince and brown.
  4. Add capsicum, tomatoes, oregano and beef stock.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  If you have the luxury of time, you could slow cook this on  a low heat for a couple of hours to really let the flavours infuse, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add kidney beans and corn, stir through.  Remove the lid and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.  In the final minute or two, add the chocolate and allow it to melt.  Stir.
  6. Serve your delicious steaming chilli on a bed of rice, topped with cheese and avocado and a squeeze of lime juice.

     

     

Our Take Aways

We were so happy with how this turned out.  I tasted it before it was ready and didn’t think there was enough spices but once it was finished the flavours had infused and it was rich, spicy, flavourful. Even better on nights two and three. Yum yum yum.  I’m keen to try a vegetarian version at some point but otherwise I would not change the flavours.
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