Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beer and Chocolate Chili

Chili, also known as chili con carne, is a stew traditionally made from beef, chili peppers, garlic, onions and spices. The origins of chili are unclear, but it seems to have been invented in Mexico in the mid to late nineteenth century. It was a popular way to use leftovers and to stretch available meat. One theory holds that it was served as a complimentary side dish at saloons before becoming a free-standing meal.

Today chili is primarily associated with Texas and is the state’s official dish. It became popular as a street food in San Antonio, where it was sold by women who became known as ‘chili queens’. Health department regulations ended this practice, after which chili parlors became popular. The dish acquired a national and international profile at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago where it was served at the San Antonio Chile Stand.

Traditional Texan chili contains no beans, tomatoes or other vegetables. Purists have coined a popular phrase to underline this fact, “If you know beans about chili, you know chili ain’t got no beans.” However, these ingredients are now widely used in chili recipes to stretch portions, accommodate vegetarians or provide variety. Some recipes substitute beef with turkey, chicken, venison or other game meat. Vegetarian versions are also popular. Regional variations incorporate rice or macaroni, and many use ‘secret’ ingredients including fruit, alcohol, sweeteners, coffee, chocolate, peanut butter, spices or vinegar.

Chili is now served in a variety of ways including on spaghetti, baked potatoes, hot dogs, rice, corn chips or French fries. The dish has become a staple at Super Bowl parties. Its popularity has spread and chili is now available in France, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

Serves 6-8

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds spicy ground turkey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1 ounce package spicy taco seasoning mix
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 ounce dark chocolate or 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 (12 ounce) bottle of lager-style beer or chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese or sliced scallions (all optional), for garnish

1. Heat half the olive oil in a large, heavy, preferably non-stick pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, oregano and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. Heat remaining olive oil. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a metal or plastic spoon, and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.  Add back the onion and bell pepper mixture.
3. Stir in the tomato paste, chili pepper flakes, taco seasoning, salt, chili powder, and chocolate or cocoa powder; cook 1 minute more.
4. Add the beer and simmer on medium heat for 8-10 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes and their juices, kidney beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
6. Serve garnished with sour cream, cheddar cheese or sliced green onions. Serve with warn cornbread.
7. Store covered in the fridge for one week or in an airtight container in the freezer for three months.


Anonymous said...

beer and chocolate are two of my favorite things. i will definitely try this recipe.

Anonymous said...

beer and chocolate are two of my favorite things. i will definitely try this recipe.

James said...

This is the very long recipe, i think it something difficult but i must try.

Anonymous said...

In honor of your anniversary, Julie made your beer and chocolate chili last night. It was awesome!

Squirrelman said...

I'm going to try out this recipe. ;)

Anonymous said...

This recipe has become a tradition for my family..I have used a different beer every time and have found that the darker the beer the better and always use more chocolate. Always a hit.

Anonymous said...

I made this once..and it has become a family favorite..the only recipe anyone will accept. I have tried different beers over time and have decided only the darkest beer will do...and the more chocolate the better!

Rob said...

I made this tonight for friends, using veg sausage instead of turkey. I was amazed at how well the flavors, including the chocolate, complemented each other, and balanced with the spice. This is a recipe I will doubtless make again and again. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I made the chili again for a climate change group that I was a part of. I called it "Chili for a Cooler Planet," vegetarian style of course, and it was a huge hit. I was rather proud of it myself. I'm just loving that recipe, thank you!


Anonymous said...

I used Amy's vegetarian sausage (1 pack/6 sausages). Also, I didn't use beer, but added a handful each of fresh cilantro and cheddar cheese. I also cut back on the chili powder and diced jalapenos to toss in the oil toward the beginning of the chili prep.

I really enjoyed making the meal. True soul food!

Anonymous said...

Adding one cup of black, strongly brewed coffee adds to the depth of flavors.