When I was 25, I hosted a chili cook-off at which a few university friends competed. My friend David Barmak blew my mind by introducing the idea that you could mix chocolate into a salty dish. Something else that really impressed me was how prevalent the meat was in the dish. Rather than using ground beef, the small cubes of meat really held their own as the central ingredient and were loaded with flavour and texture. This was further enhanced by the absence of the various beans I had been habituated to in my 1/4 century of chili eating. For this chili, I adjusted David’s recipe by adding a chocolate stout beer to give it a dark, rich color.
2 lbs beef chuck (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
4 cups chocolate stout beer
1 large red onion (diced)
6 medium cloves of garlic (minced)
1L crushed tomatoes
2 oz semi-sweet bakers chocolate (grated)
1tbsp brown sugar
Cabbot seriously sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp of oregano
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1 whole guajillo chili
1 whole mulato chili
1 whole chipotle chili
1. Mix together spices and ground peppers in a skillet and roast for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
2. Sprinkle the meat with flour and stir to cover equally. In a large pot, heat vegetable oil on medium-high. Throw in the meat and brown it, making sure not to let it burn. Put aside.
3. In the large pot, heat vegetable oil on medium-high and throw in the onions. Cook until translucent (3-4 minutes) and then add the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the meat, the crushed tomatoes, the beer, 1 1/2 oz of chocolate and the spice mix. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.
5. After 1 1/2 hour, stir in the rest of the chocolate and the sugar. Continue cooking for 30 minutes.
6. The liquids should have cooked down quite a lot but still present. Take the chili off the oven and let sit for at least 30 minutes (you can let it sit for a day or two if you like).
7. When it’s chow time, serve chili in a bowl with a sprinkle of sharp cheddar for garnish and a crispy piece of pita.