Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pinto bean & cocoa chili

Yes, you read that correctly. Bean and cocoa chili. The cocoa adds just a hint of bitterness, and a sublime rich flavour. This is my new favorite chili, hands down.

Our guests brought a spectacular Croatian wine straight from the Madirazza winery -- a red which complemented the chili perfectly. I usually go for a cold beer with a spicy meal, but this wine was the perfect accompaniment: deep, strong and full of late-season flavours.

What you need (6-8 servings):
  • pinto beans, cooked from dry (2 heaping cups) with bacon
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • dollop olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers or yellow paprikas, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper, hot paprika and/or chili powder to taste (last night, we used just under 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, and the chili was pleasantly but not overwhelmingly spicy)
  • ~ 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
What you do:
  • Cook up the pinto beans, initially covering them with 1 inch of water.
  • Near the end of the bean cooking time, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Over medium-low heat, cook the onions and garlic until translucent. Once the beans are finished, add the onions and garlic to the bean pot (do not drain the beans!). Over low-ish heat, get the bean pot simmering gently.
  • Add the tomatoes and bell pepper, and stir well. Add all spices and adjust to taste.
  • Stir the cocoa into a small amount of hot water, then add to the chili. Stir well. Taste again and add more spice if needed.
  • Let simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, to let the flavours blend. 
  • Serve with cornbread and rice!

No comments: