Chilli with Dark Chocolate
This slow cooked chilli recipe is enriched with bitter dark chocolate, said to bring out the flavour. Serve the warming weekend dish with steamed cornbread.
OK, it’s confession time: I don’t like kidney beans and since they are usually in chilli, I don’t really eat chilli either. But on a trip to California, I had a Tex-Mex style one made with just white beans that was so good I’ve spent the last decade and a bit trying to recreate it. All smoky from the chillies used, slightly bitter from the chocolate and creamy from the beans, it was fantastic. This is the closest I’ve got to it without using an array of expensive dried chillies such as chipotles, anchos etc. The secret ingredient is a touch of instant coffee, which doesn’t add a mocha tint, but renders it smoky and reminiscent of cooking over a campfire. Don’t be put off by the long recipe list, this vegetarian chilli is very easy and frugal to make.
|2 tsp||cumin seeds|
|2 tsp||coriander seeds|
|2||dried red chillies|
|100g||dried black-eyed beans|
|100g||dried haricot beans|
|2 tsp||smoked paprika|
|¼ tsp||cayenne pepper|
|1 tsp||dried oregano|
|2 tsp||soy sauce|
|1 heaped tsp||instant coffee|
|1 tsp||brown sugar|
|1 tsp||cider vinegar|
|1 tbsp||tomato purée|
|1 x 400g||tin chopped tomatoes|
|4 squares||of dark chocolate (about 25g)|
|sour cream, to serve|
|salt and pepper|
You will need a pestle and mortar and a slow cooker.
Now I’ve scared you with a long ingredients list, here is a very easy and short recipe: Toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, dried chillies, cloves and star anise in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for about 2 minutes until they smell very fragrant. Crush them lightly using a pestle and mortar and add to the slow-cooker crock.
Put the dried beans in and then add the rest of the herbs and spices. Dollop in the Marmite, soy, coffee, sugar and vinegar along with the tomato purée and the chopped tomatoes. Season it all well, bearing in mind that the Marmite is quite salty. Pour the water in and stir it all. If the beans aren’t completely covered, add another 100ml. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook the chilli on low for 8 hours.
About 15 minutes before you are ready to eat, break the chocolate into squares and stir through. Add a splash of water if the chilli looks a little dry. The beans should be coated in a thick sauce. Pop the lid back on and warm for another 15-20 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt in.
Serve spoonfuls of the chilli in bowls along with some sour cream, if you fancy it. Any leftovers make amazing nachos when spread over tortilla chips and covered with grated cheese.