Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Boozy Chocolate Chili

I just wanted you to read this post - that's why I called the recipe what I did. Booze and chocolate - what blog perusing person isn't going to be intrigued?

Ok - here's the deal. I've totally fallen behind in meal planning, and I'm having a hard time getting back on the horse. I think I'm close, but no guarantees.

The result - this chili (beauty out of chaos it turns out). I was walking through Trader Joes, picking up a couple essentials - milk, coffee, etc and passed their seasonal section featuring....corn bread! I grabbed and box, deciding instantly chili and cornbread would fit the dinner bill perfectly (in my defense, it was 10am...I had a little bit of time).

I glanced at a couple chili recipes and decided I've never really liked any of the ones I've made so I decided to make up my own. Success. Here it is.

Homemade Boozy Chocolate Chili

1 lb ground beef (96/4 - ie low grease)
1/2 large red onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 red pepper, diced
3 steak house tomatoes, cut into 1in chunks
1/4 c unpacked fresh basil, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped (I used baby carrots 
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 13 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground chili peppers (not chili powder - which is a blend of ground chilies and other stuff)
3/4tsp salt
1/3 cup red wine
two modest handfuls of chocolate chips (I know, right?!)

In a large stock pot, brown the beef, red onions, garlic, and peppers. When the meat is nearly cooked through, add the tomatoes and stir briefly. Add everything else - stirring frequently. Simmer for a while. The longer you can let it sit - either on simmer or just on the stove for a couple hours - the better it will be.

It's amazingly yummy!!! You could do more or less of the wine, I used classy Charles Shaw and it did exactly what I needed it to :) I figured there are beer chilis out there, but I knew my husband would be bummed if I used the last beer in the house, so I used the 2 buck chuck. If I had had gourmet chocolate on hand, I probably would have used just a few squares - but all I had were Nestle chocolate chips - they also did the trick perfectly.

Notes -

* This makes enough for 4-6 people. Trader Joes cornbread, though, should come in bigger packets - one box only makes an 8x8pan.
* If you are using chili powder instead of ground chilis, you'll want to omit the basil and cumin (and possibly garlic, read the ingredients on your chili powder) and probably increase the quantity.
* To make this vegan - just omit the meat (oohh...and the chocolate chips - try sweetened cocoa powder instead)
 * This will freeze beautifully, and probably taste better the second time you serve it.
* The end result of this chili is a tomatoey, sweet, bean-laden foretaste with a spicy finish. It's not super spicy, by any means, my kids ate it fine (and now will hopefully sleep fine, too). If you want knock your socks off spicy, I recommend adding more ground chili peppers, and perhaps adding some fresh chili in big enough pieces you can remove them before you serve them to your guests. If you want it spicier than that - you shouldn't use this recipe because you'll be wasting wine and chocolate :)

I'd love to know if you make this, how it turns out, and if you make any modifications. Enjoy!

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