Chili with Chocolate?
This recipe comes from my cookbook Romancing the Stove: the unabridged guide to aphrodisiac foods. I love the use of cacao in Mexican cuisine. It’s a culture that’s been using chocolate since before it was even discovered by the “civilized” world. Now, I can’t accurately call my White Bean Chili with Chocolate an authentically Mexican dish. But what I can call it is aphrodisiac! By layering a tongue-tingling dose of chile pepper with both antioxidant-rich cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, I’ve given the pot of chili an earthy base. On top of it, the tang of tomato and sting of chile truly shine. (Learn more about the aphrodisiac properties of both chile and chocolate.)
The secret ingredient to making great chili
But there’s one more key to my chili perfection (and as far as I’m concerned, this chili is perfect). I add a touch of acai puree at the end. Acai is a super-fruit of the Amazon. In fact, it’s considered one of the finest sources of antioxidants in the world. They also contain nutrients linked with improved cognitive function and anti-cancerous effects.
And acai not only brings this amazing arsenal of nutrients but it also enhances flavor. The addition of acai offers a subtle sweetness to the final flavor.
Variations for beef, turkey or vegan chili
Because a big bowl of chili can be a heavy dish, I’ve omitted meat from the recipe to keep it light. You can use ground beef or a combination of beef and turkey in place of the vegetable protein. (I don’t recommend making this recipe with just turkey. This lean meat causes both the texture and flavor to be a little bit off the mark.) And if you want to make a vegan chili, just be sure to select a vegan chocolate.
If you’re a meat lover, you’re going to feel incline to make this recipe with beef instead of “mock meat.” But I encourage you to try it with the the vegetarian protein, just once. I swear it makes this recipe better. I promise, once you’ve tried the vegetarian version of my White Bean Chili with Chocolate, you won’t want to mess with the results!
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This unique, vegetarian chili recipe from Amy Reiley's aphrodisiac cookbook Romancing the Stove, combines classic chili ingredients with the earthy notes of cocoa powder and chocolate and the sweet tang of acai fruit.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 12 oz soy ground meat substitute*
- 2 tsp-1 tbsp chile powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp powdered cayenne pepper
- 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 16 oz can white beans
- 1 c vegetable broth
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 c pure acai juice or fruit purée (optional)**
- 1 oz bittersweet chocolate grated (or chocolate chips)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- salt to taste
- Heat vegetable oil in a large stockpot.
- Sauté onions and celery until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add ground soy, chile powder, cumin and cayenne and sauté for 1 minute.
- Stir in tomatoes, white beans vegetable broth, oregano, bay leaf and acai juice or fruit purée. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If chili gets too thick, stir in water 1/2 cup at a time until chili reaches desired thickness.
- Remove bay leaf and stir in chocolate and cinnamon. Turn off heat and season with salt to taste before serving.
*You can use ground beef or turkey or a combination of the two if you prefer but you will get the optimal flavor and texture using the meat substitute. It makes superior chili, I swear! ** Acai juice can be found in the refrigerated section of health food grocers, or sold with the frozen foods as a pure fruit puree. If you can’t find the ingredient, you can leave it out, but we think it is the key to this delicious stew.
If you like this White Bean Chili with Chocolate, check out the rest of the recipes in Amy Reiley’s award-winning cookbook Romancing the Stove
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