I love any kind of event, like a potluck, where guests have to bring a dish. I think it’s so fun to see what people come up with and what flavors they like the most. To bring in the spring, a friend recently hosted a chili cook-off. I was impressed with the variety in chilis people brought: chili verde with tomatillos and pork, a spicy chili with almost an entire bottle of whiskey, one with quinoa, another with white beans and kale.
In trying to prepare, I stumbled upon a curious recipe. I won an amazing sampler box of Taza chocolates in a raffle at a Chive: Sustainable Events Design & Catering event a few weeks ago, and figured I should do something with all that chocolate. I mean, it was a lot of chocolate! Taza is an amazing stone-ground chocolate company, with a factory in Somerville that I have yet to visit. I checked out the Taza website for possible recipes, and lo and behold, the perfect chili cook-off contender was right there! My slightly competitive (food) nature came out, so I rushed out to get all the ingredients a month before the cook off to do a test run (I’m serious…!) So, the recipe below is from the Taza website, with a couple teeny modifications.
I doubled the recipe (found here: Taza Chocolate Chili Recipe), but the following is the standard amount.
• 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
• 1/2 head of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 large green bell pepper, diced
• 3/4 lbs lean ground beef (grass-fed if possible)
• 1/2 lb grass-fed steak or stew meat, your preference
• 16 oz Stout (I used Berkshire Brewing Company Russian Imperial Stout)
• 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
• 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (Muir Glen fire roasted are pretty tasty)
• 1 can kidney beans
• 1 can black beans
• 1/2 can tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
• 2 packages Taza Chipotle Chili Mexicano (4 discs)
• 1 package Taza Guajillo Chili Mexicano (2 discs)
• 1 tablespoon Teeny Tiny Spice Co. of Vermont “Chocolate Chili” spice
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 2 dried guajillo chili peppers, whole (or any mild-medium chili pepper)
• 1 poblano pepper, diced (I couldn’t find one, so I left it out)
• 2 jalapeno peppers, diced, seeds removed (also didn’t have this)
• 1 lime, cut into small pieces (will soften in the cooking process and be entirely edible)
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
• sea salt
• black pepper
• condiments: plain Greek yogurt (excellent substitute for sour cream), diced red onion, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro
The Chocolate Chili spice from VT is so delicious and smells absolutely amazing. You can find it at natural food stores, where they’ll likely have sniffing testers so you can get a good idea of its flavor before using it. It fits in so well with the various chocolates and beer in the chili.
So much goodness in one mix!
- Cocoa Nibs
- Aji Amarillo Chili
- New Mexican Chili
- Aji Pancha Chili
- Aji Rojo Chili
- Juniper Berry
- Sweet Cinnamon
- Aji Cereza Chili
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- Vermont Maple Sugar
If you can’t find this spice mix, then just use 2 packages of the chipotle chocolate, 1 of the guajillo, 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon cayenne, and 1 teaspoon chipotle. My second batch was a hodge podge of subtituted ingredients, since that’s what I could most easily find. I actually used some plain dark, guajillo, and salt and pepper dark chocolate.
• In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic until they start to become translucent.
• Add diced peppers (bell, jalapeno and poblano) to the onions and garlic and saute until softened.
• Transfer onion, garlic, and peppers to a large stockpot and set aside.
• Brown ground beef and sirloin in the skillet with the cumin. Drain excess fat and add 1/2 bottle of Harpoon Oyster Creek Stout to pan. Once the beer has cooked down a little, transfer beef mixture to the stockpot with the onions and peppers. Add the rest of the beer.
• Add all tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, spices, Taza chocolate, chocolate chili spice, dried chilis, peppers, cut-up lime, Worcestershire sauce and cilantro.
• Cook on low heat, simmering for at least 4 hrs.
• Optional – line muffin tins with rolled homemade or purchased biscuit dough. Preheat oven, spoon warm chili into center of each piece of biscuit dough and bake according to dough recipe. (I didn’t do this, but bet it’s amazing!)
• Serve warm, garnished with your favorites: plain Greek yogurt, diced red onion, cheddar cheese, diced cilantro.
I really love this chili. While it may not have been the winner of the day (man, that chili verde was good!), it’s definitely a recipe I’ll go back to for something different. It has that oopmh that only dishes with an unusual ingredient can have. I’ve made this twice now. The first time, I used stew meat but thought it was just slightly too chewy. Perhaps it didn’t simmer long enough (there was probably a 5 hour difference in the simmer time between my two batches!). So for the cook off, I used steak (in addition to the ground beef) and it was more tender, but not so much that I really feel inclined to spend the extra money for steak next time. I think I’ll cook the stew meat slowly in the oven, in half of the beer, before adding it to the chili.
Would you try this? What might you change to your own batch?