When I've had a really crappy day, I usually don't feel like cooking. In fact I don't feel like doing anything more than curl up into a little ball and cry my eyes out. Fortunately I've learned through experience that, while crying your heart out is immensely satisfying, you usually only end up with a stuffy head and red eyes to show for all your efforts. Not a great prospect. Releasing my frustrations in the kitchen however has always led to positive results. The chopping, mixing, frying and tasting seems to have a calming influence on me. Especially when paired with a glass of wine and a listening ear in the guise of TheHusband.
So it happened that I was not in the best state of mind when I started cooking this chili. Actually that's putting it mildly. I won't bog you down with the details, but suffice to say, I was not a happy camper. And it might've been due to my fragile emotional state that TheHusband eyed the cacao powder tin I was clutching maniacally next to the simmering meat on the stove with such trepidation.
As I've mentioned on numerous previous occasions, I'm a
So it stands to reason that I wasn't going to be able to resist a savoury dish with cocoa powder as one of it's flavouring agents. And I won't lie, the cheese on top definitely also swayed me. I am a badge-toting member of the #cheesesluts club after all.
I am happy to report though that it turned out swimmingly. That is both my mood and the food. Although I suspect there aren't many things that a comforting bowl of chili con carne won't solve. The cocoa powder lends a depth to the chili that would otherwise be sorely lacking and the spices join together in perfect harmony to create a rich and flavourful meal. And while I can't promise that your sorrows will be a thing of the past, they will definitely be forgotten for a few indulgent moments. Tried-and-tested.
Chili Con Carne
Inspired by Simply Delicious' vegetarian chili
Serves 5 - 6
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
500g lean mince (ground beef)
4 tbsp tomato paste
2.5 tsp coriander seeds, finely ground
6 allspice berries, finely ground
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp smoked paprika*
1 1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
2 tbsp unsweetened best-quality cocoa powder
4 tsp brown sugar
3.5 tsp salt
1 tin (410g) peeled chopped tomatoes
1 tin (410g) butter beans, drained
1 tin (410g) red kidney beans, drained
1 tin (410g) sweetcorn kernels, drained
grated cheddar, to serve
avocado, to serve (optional)
chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), to serve (optional)
sour cream, to serve (optional)
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, sauteing for a few seconds, then add red and green bellpeppers. Saute a further 2 - 3 minutes before adding the ground beef. Cook until browned.
2. Now add some flavour to the meat - tomato paste, coriander, all-spice, cinnamon, smoked paprika, chili flakes, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Cook, stirring for 2 -3 minutes over high heat, then add tinned tomatoes. Stir through, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer, covered, for approximately 10 minutes.
3. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, then add the rest of the ingredients: butter beans, kidney beans and sweetcorn kernels. Gently heat through, then serve, topped with cheese, your choice of condiments and warm bread.
If you can get hold of something like cheese & onion bread I would strongly suggest you get it as it tastes phenomenal with this chili.
* If you are unable to find smoked paprika, I would suggest that you substitute with an equal amount of paprika and up the chili flakes to replicate the increased heat from the smoked paprika.
** If you're able to get hold of peppadews, they add a deliciously sweet and tangy edge to the chilli. Just chop finely and serve alongside the rest of the condiments.
Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 460.8 , Total fat 23.1 g, Saturated fat 8.1 g, Polyunsaturated fat 1.1 g, Monounsaturated fat 10.1 g, Cholesterol 68.2 mg, Sodium 2,269.3 mg, Potassium 620.1 mg, Total carbohydrate 40.9 g, Dietary fiber 9.2 g, Sugars 11.6 g, Protein 25.4 g
Good source of: Vitamin C 108.6 %, Vitamin B12 35.5 %, Zinc 25.8 %, Niacin 25.7 %, Selenium 22.9 %, Iron 21.4 %