ground beef chili with chocolate and peanut butter

It’s April first, the grass is greening before our very eyes and the forsythia are so brilliant it’s painful, and — it’s snowing.

But of course. This is Virginia, after all.

Upside: it’s the perfect day to tell you about chili!

I do love me a good chili and I have the recipes to prove it: chocolate-kissed chili, chicken chili, green chili, ground pork and white bean chili, black bean and sweet potato chili — you get the point. And yet somehow I manage to have a new one!

The wonders never cease.

Interestingly (to me, anyway), this chili has no garlic or chili powder. Instead, it’s seasoned with canned chiles, a medley of dried spices, beer, chocolate, and peanut butter. The canned chipotles add smokiness, the chocolate and beer add depth, and the peanut butter adds a creamy nuttiness that’s barely detectable. All together, it makes for a deliciously richly spiced chili. 

The perks of having a son with a friend who’s a beer bottler at a local brewery, whoop-whoop!

At least it better be barely detectable. I added too much the first time around — You can never have too much peanut butter! Look at me go! Wheeeeeeee! — and the chili became all about the peanut butter which was not a good thing. You want just a little.

On this, trust me.

Ground Beef Chili with Chocolate and Peanut Butter
Adapted from the NYTimes.

I used between 2 and 3 chipotle chiles which, for my family, is pushing acceptable levels of heat. I also chopped up a dried chile (a pasillo chile, perhaps?) and added it straight in; it rehydrated in the cooking process.

When making chili, I use any mix of cooked beans: black, pinto, red, kidney, etc. If the chili feels too thick, add a cup of chicken or beef broth, tomato juice, water, or more chopped tomatoes.

1 glug of oil
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons salt
1-3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
¼ – ½ teaspoons cayenne powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2 pounds ground beef
I quart diced tomatoes with juice
1 pint tomato sauce
1 cup stout beer
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans
4 ounces chocolate chips
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
Condiments for serving: tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, green onions, radishes, cheese, hot sauce, fresh lime, etc. 

Saute the onions and salt in the oil until soft. Add the chiles and spices (down through the allspice) and cook for another couple minutes. Add the ground beef and cook through, chopping it up and stirring as it cooks. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beer. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in the beans, chocolate, and peanut butter and heat through. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Serve with the condiments of your choice.

This same time, years previous: the coronavirus diaries: week four, babies and boobs, warning: this will make your eyes hurt, three stories, oven fries, flaunting my ignorance.

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