Chocolate Chili

by Susan on May 16, 2012

Nothing is easier to make than chili. Aside from the tears, pain and trauma that chopping the necessary onions induces, it’s the ultimate no-fuss meal that gets the job done. If you work or have a busy day, you can always let a crock pot babysit it for you. If you’re home, you can set the pot to simmer for as long as your heart desires, and let the smell of an awesome dinner fill your kitchen.

There are so many riffs on chili, with the one common denominator being it’s generally a one-pot meal with lots of seasoning. Vegetarian chilis often rely on beans to provide protein and nutrition, but tonight’s meat-based version doesn’t contain any. For all my vegan and vegetarian readers, I highly recommend this one.

For my fellow carnivores, however, trust me that this one is worth making. Cocoa powder might seem like a surprising ingredient, but this is actually the second chili recipe I’ve made that includes it. It adds a nice smoky quality to the chili, not to mention that the acid in the cocoa powder can actually help tenderize meat.

I got today’s recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. It’s definitely not an inexpensive book, so if you don’t follow Paleo you might balk a little at the price. Melissa also has a lovely blog with a lot of great recipes. You can see by the recipe below she has a sharp wit and fun attitude when it comes to food. “Stirring like you mean it?” Love it.

Today I used one lb. of ground dark meat turkey and one lb. of white meat. I do think using fire-roasted tomatoes makes a difference; Muir Glen’s organic variety is widely available at most supermarkets and even mass marketers such as Target.

Chocolate Chili

from Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes
1 can (14.5 ounces) beef broth
1 cup water

Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and as soon as it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds, crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with the wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink.

In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release its flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the pot, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth, and water to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the chili enjoys a gentle simmer. Simmer uncovered for at least two hours. Do not skimp on the simmer! Serve in deep bowls with big spoons.

I topped my bowl with some avocado slices, and the kids were in luck, as I had some cornbread cubes left over from our Mother’s Day cornbread panzanella salad. I popped them in a 325 oven for 20 minutes to make them nice and crisp first.

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