We are having an unseasonably warm December with very little snow, but that didn't stop me from cooking up a big pot of chili last weekend. I made our favorite pork chili a few weeks ago, so went for a ground beef version this time around. Cocoa Chile Blend from McCormick's Gourmet Collection is a spicy mixture of cocoa powder, chipotle chile pepper and sugar. I've used small amounts of it in chili in the past and haven't really been able to detect it. For this pot, I decided to see what flavors I'd get by using a larger amount. I loved the results -- great spicy chile flavor balanced by a subtle chocolatey sweetness.
- 2 pounds ground sirloin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cocoa chile powder
- 2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Cholula hot sauce
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 can Bush's chili beans with sauce (I used the hot)
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 2 teaspoons masa harina
- Grated colby jack cheese
- Minced green onion
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meat, breaking it up so that no pink remains. Set aside.
- In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until they begins to brown. Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
- Add the browned meat to the pot along with the chili powders, cumin, oregano, and salt, stirring to combine.
- Stir in the tomatoes, Cholula, and beef broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat for about an hour.
- Stir in the beans and cook for another 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water and masa harina, whisking until the masa has dissolved.
- Add the mixture to the pot of chili and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and top with grated cheese and green onions.
Yield: 8 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
This Cocoa-kissed Chili was a crowd pleaser! My kids like spicy food, but I've been known to make chili too hot for anyone but me to eat. The chili has heat from several sources -- the cocoa chile powder, the hot sauce from the beans, and the Cholula. To keep from getting the chili too spicy, I used a run-of-the-mill, not very hot chili powder along with the cocoa blend. The masa harina adds some body to the chili. I bought mine at a local Hispanic market when I made tamales a couple of months ago. If you can't find it, the chili will not suffer greatly if you skip that step.