Smoky chocolate chilli con carne

Smoky chocolate chilli con carne with Mexican rice and salad

Really? Chocolate in a chilli con carne? Ooooh, yes! It is amazing. I know it sounds strange but this is my ultimate chilli recipe. The chocolate adds a whole new level of flavour, making the chilli deeper, smokier, richer and generally more delicious.

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The higher the cacao content here, the better. Seriously. I use 100% cacao that I bought from my local chocolatiers. If you can’t get hold of pure cacao, then go for one with a very high cocoa content – at least 80%. You don’t want too much sugar and cocoa butter here.
As the type of chocolate used will vary for this recipe, I’m not going to specify a quantity. If you’re using 100% like me, you need very little as it can make the chilli bitter. If you’re using a lower percentage, conversely it can make the chilli too sweet! My advice would be to add in one piece at a time, stir and taste. You can always add more but you can’t take away.

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I’ve served the chilli with Mexican-style rice, jalapenos and an avocado salad with a killer dressing. I made this for a Saturday dinner, so went full-out unhealthy with white rice and red meat. If you wanted to make it healthier, reduce the amount of beef mince and bulk it out with more beans. You could also swap the white rice for brown, or even cauliflower rice.

I made a load of the chilli and froze all the extra. I’m looking forward to coming home from work all tired one night and having a homemade “ready meal” to enjoy!

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Ingredients (this made 6 portions of the chilli and rice)
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 700g beef mince
– 2 onions, chopped
– 4 cloves garlic, minced (put less in if you aren’t such a garlic fiend as me)
– 2 teaspoons ground cumin
– 2 teaspoons ground coriander
– 1 tablespoon Chipotle paste/Chipotle Tasbasco sauce (this gives an amazing smoky flavour)
– 400g can of chopped tomatoes
– 400g tin of baked beans in sauce
– 400g passsata
– 400g beans of your choice, drained (I used cannelini)
– squirt of tomato ketchup (for sweetness if you’re using a very high percentage of cocoa)
– small amount of very dark chocolate
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 400g white rice (I use half a cup per person, and in this recipe for each cup of rice I used a cup and a half of water)
– slices of jalapeno (include as many as you can handle!)
– 1 chicken stock cube

Salad ingredients (2 portions)
– one little gem lettuce
– one tomato
– one cucumber
– half an avocado
– juice of half a lime
– equal parts decent olive oil, Chipotle Tabasco sauce and red wine vinegar

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Method
1. Heat the oil in a large pan that has a lid. Add MOST of the onion, but leave about a quarter aside for the rice. Do the same with the garlic. Stir and soften for a few minutes.
2. Add the mince and brown it thoroughly, stirring continuously.
3. Add the cumin, coriander and chipotle sauce. Mix thoroughly. It should now start to smell smoky and fragrant.
4. Add both types of beans, the chopped tomatoes and the passata. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Leave to simmer uncovered while you make the sides. Remember to stir the chilli every few minutes.
5. Heat the butter and saute the remaining onion and garlic for two minutes. Rinse the rice and add it to the pan. Cook until the onions are softened and the rice is beginning to take on some colour. Don’t allow the garlic to burn though, or it will become bitter.
6. Add the stock cube to the rice, along with water (see ingredients note). Bring to the boil, then lower the heat. Place a tight-fitting lid on and leave to cook for 15 minutes.
7. To make the salad, wash the lettuce leaves and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Slice the tomato and cucumber. Peel the avocado half and slice. Assemble together and squeeze the lime juice over straight away to stop the avocado discolouring.
8. Mix the salad dressing – equal parts olive oil, red wine vinegar and Chipotle Tasbasco sauce. I used just under a tablespoon of each. Taste, adjust and season, then drizzle over your salad.
9. Just before the rice is done, start to add the chocolate to your chilli. Slowly, slowly now! Add a little at a time, stir and taste. There’s a fine line between smoky and bitter. If you need to balance out with sweetness, I find a squirt of tomato ketchup really helps.
10. Stir in some chopped jalapeno slices into the rice, if you like them. Serve the chilli with rice and salad, and a few more jalapeno slices on the side.

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