The sunny, warm weather is still with us but Fall is officially here. Just like we change over our clothes for the impending cooler weather, we also tend to eat differently in the Fall and Winter months. With the cooler, crisper weather at our doorstep, Val stepped into the Experimental kitchen and opened up one of her favourite cookbooks, My New Roots by Sarah Britton, which we have posted a review on previously. (click here to go to it!)
Val’s pick from My New Roots today is 10 Spice Chocolate Chili. Chili is a cold weather staple in our home and we seem to make it slightly different every time depending on what is in the cupboard and fridge, but the basics remain the same. Sarah Britton’s Chocolate Chili recipe is sure to warm you on a cold day.
Now, you’re probably wondering…did she just say Chocolate Chili? Yes! The inspiration for this rich warm chili was based on the classic ‘Mole’ sauce from Mexico. The word, ‘Mole’ was the ancient word for mix. A classic ‘Mole’ sauce can be an elaborate mixture of up to 30 ingredients, including, cocoa, chilies, nuts, seeds and spices.
The ingredients are roasted and ground into a fine powder or paste which is then mixed with water or broth, simmered in a heavy clay pot and stirred almost constantly to prevent burning. This sauce is usually poured over other roasted dishes and not served alone.
In this short cut version, Sarah fills it with antioxidants and delicious ingredients. Using cocoa in a savory dish may be new and strange to you as it was for us when we first started using it, however, in its natural state, cacao is not sweet at all and is the perfect superfood for this recipe.
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 medium red bell peppers, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
2 ears of fresh corn, kernels sliced off the cob
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tbsp dried thyme or 7 large sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tbsp dried oregano or handful fresh oregano leaves
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
28 ounce can whole tomatoes
2 cups mixed beans (kidney, black eyed peas, black beans)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 cups water
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lime
fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted for garnish
1 lime, sliced into wedges, for garnish
Optional: fresh cubed avocado
- Chop the onions, bell peppers and sweet potatoes, keeping the onions separate. Shuck the corn and slice the kernels off the cobs; you will have about 2 cups of kernels. Mince the garlic.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it has melted, add the cumin and coriander seeds. Cook for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Add the chopped onions and salt; cook for another 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the cinnamon, chili powder, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cayenne, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and cocoa powder, and cook for a minute or two. If the pot gets dtry, add some of the juice from the tomatoes.
- Add the corn, peppers, sweet potatoes, and beans, canned tomatoes with their juices, maple syrup and 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste with more salt if desired.
- Serve hot, garnished with the cilantro, pumpkin seeds and lime wedges or diced avocado.
*Our recipe excluded the chipotle powder and exchanged it with chili powder and added a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg