Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chili with Chipotle and Chocolate - vegan & gluten free

Cocoa is such a delightful ingredient. I use it in all sorts of desserts, and I've never heard of anyone being allergic to it. It's expensive per pound, but you don't usually need very much of it because it's so potent. Today's baking was some mint VeganOs, but instead of green filling, I made purple for Easter at the suggestion of The Official Tester. I was worried that it would be weird to eat something purple and mint flavored (i.e. not purple and grape flavored or mint flavored and green), but since I've eaten about eight, I don't think it's a problem. The chocolate of the cookies is the predominant flavor, and it's followed by the creamy mint. Delish!

Cocoa can also be used in savory main and side dishes. I hear those of you who don't live in Southern California are struggling with winter weather. I recommend this chili recipe I found in Cooking Light several years ago. I don't have photos, but imagine a warm, rich chili that tastes and smells a little bit like chocolate. Got it? Now make it! It's super easy (chili is very forgiving) and you'll only have to wash one pot. Feel free to add anything else that sounds good to you (corn, other/more beans, various peppers, dried herbs, etc). Add additional tomatoes, water, or broth to make it the consistency you want.

Chili with Chipotle and Chocolate adapted from Cooking Light
gluten free, dairy free, egg free, corn free, soy free
can be vegan/vegetarian

Dollop of olive oil (about 2 tbsp probably)
1 large onion, diced
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 lbs ground meat of choice (optional)
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp ancho chili powder
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed & drained
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 cups low sodium vegetable, chicken, or beef broth
2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, minced
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and then onion, bell pepper, garlic and meat (if using). Saute 8 minutes or until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Add next 10 ingredients (sugar through chipotle) to pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chocolate and stir until it melts and blends nicely.
That's it! You're done! You can serve it immediately, but I'd recommend letting it sit for a while and then reheating it. Chile always tastes better that way.
Serve over rice or not, add cheese or not. You can top with sour cream and/or chopped green onions.

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