Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Beef Chronicles: Chocolate Chip Chili

Huh? What are these Beef Chronicles? See the bottom of the post for links, recipes and the full story on why we bought a cow.

You're just going to have to trust me on this one. I know it sounds freaky, and I had my serious doubts, but hear me out.

So there's Nigella Lawson, who some people love and some people love to hate. Personally, I both adore and admire her and when she says "Chocolate-Chip Chili" I say "Giddiyup".

There is so much more to this complex chili than just chocolate chips. In fact, they play such a small role in this feature, don't ask me why they earned a spot in the title instead of just credits; however, the words 'chocolate' and 'chili' in the same sentence got your attention, admit it!

Big bold flavors in Nigella's chili include chorizo, cumin and cinnamon--not sure what she was thinking with the alliteration (yes there is even cardamom & chilies) but it works. It really works.

This hearty one-pot wonder comes together looking like a mess, but after 4-5 hours in a slow oven, and overnight chill in the fridge, it collects itself and the final result is remarkably presentable!

In short. We loved it.

This recipe offers everything we love about chili, but is a welcoming change from the usual Super Bowl sludge. It has plenty of textures, thanks to the beef cubes used instead of ground beef, and is completely satisfying and the most substantial way.
And for the chocolate-chips? They added another dimension of flavor and complement the chilies superbly.

If you are a fan of batch cooking, this chili freezes beautifully and I might even go as far as to say it improves with age.

Chocolate Chip Chili

In keeping with the "C" theme, I topped my chili with cilantro. Avocado is great too, as are tortilla chips, and sour cream is essential.

550g chorizo sausages (not the salami sort), to give 10 sausages or 5 linked pairs
1.5kg boneless shin of beef, cut into 1.5cm cubes
500g onions (about 3), peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 fresh long red chili, de-seeded ( I used less, you know, for the kiddo's sake)
4 x 15ml tablespoons vegetable oil
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies
4 x 15ml tablespoons tomato purée
4 x 15ml tablespoons tomato ketchup
4 x 400g cans red kidney beans, drained
3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
50g dark chocolate chips
250ml water (swilled out in one of the chopped tomato cans)

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F

Finely chop, or process the onion, garlic and chili.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan (with lid) or flameproof casserole and fry the onion, garlic and chili until soft, on low for about 10 minutes, then add the cardamom seeds, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and dried chillies.

Stir the onion-y spiced mixture together and then add the chorizo sliced into 1/4"(5mm) coins, letting them ooze their paprika-orange oil.

Drop in the cubes of beef, turning them in the pan with the chorizo and onion mix to brown the meat.

Stir in the tomato purée, ketchup, drained kidney beans and chopped tomatoes. Add the water and bring the chili to a boil.

Once it's started bubbling, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the chili and give it a good stir. Put on a lid and transfer to the oven.

Cook at this low heat for 3 hours. Stirring occasionally. Chili will taste mighty firey, but the heat will mellow out overnight.

Once cooked it is best left overnight to improve the flavour. Enjoy!

More Beef Chronicles:

In Which we Buy A Cow

An Introduction

Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter

Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone

Cumin-Scented Kebabs

Sesame-Beef Lettuce Wraps

Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda

Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding

Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Purée

Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries

Ossobuco in Bianco


Maria said...

You can never have too much chocolate. Love that you added it to a savory dish!

Jennifer Jo said...

I almost always add a couple squares of dark chocolate---most recently Green and Black's---to my chili. It makes me feel exotic.

Amanda S. said...

What a great recipe! I've never thought to add chocolate to my chili, but it makes total sense. Now I've got a new recipe next time I pull my own ground or cubed cow out of the freezer. Awesome!

Melissa said...

I trust you! This recipes use of chocolate reminds me of Mexican mole.

The Wife said...

This looks delicious. I am always looking for a new chili recipe - especially with all of the snow we've been getting. AND I like Nigella too! :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Everyone seems pretty excited about the outcome of the Super Bowl. Looks like you had a fantastic time Aimee!!!!

Jan (Family Bites) said...

So interesting! I fall into the "love" Nigella camp too and find her recipes quite interesting. This looks like a must-try.

Alison @ Hospitality Haven said...

What a need addition to chili! I almost drank chili hot chocolate today, but chickened out. I could probably handle this, though! :) Glad I found your blog!

Elizabeth said...

It's funny, my father has added instant coffee granules to his chili since before I can recall. I always thought it was kind of weird, but when I started making it myself, it does add a certain depth and character that would be otherwise unavailable. I think chocolate is a similar addition.

People think I'm crazy when I add cinnamon to my lasagna and chili, but it really does add a "je ne sais pas" quality!

Cheri said...

If only I had a bigger freezer! I think I might just go out and get one so I can make this. It sounds delicious. It sounds pretty odd at first, that is for sure, but once you described it I got a hankering for it. Mmm.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

You're right, chocolate in the title got my attention. But hey, if mole is dark chocolate, and you can pour it over an enchilada, why not stir it into chili?

Amber said...

I bet Blaise & Acadia would love this simply because of the chocolate feature - did Noah get a kick out of it?

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles said...

I happen to really like Nigella. I love her refined yet raw beauty in the kitchen, and her writing always makes me laugh. This recipe is very intriguing to me, it sounds delicious - I'm gonna give it a shot!


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