Spicy Chocolate Chili

19 09 2009

I’m working on a vegetarian version of a dish I actually have never heard of before — chuck roast with potatoes and carrots.  I know, I know, who hasn’t heard of chuck roast? Me. That’s who. But I have heard of kaleh-pacheh, and I bet most of my readers haven’t. So there. Stay tuned for a vegetarian version of that recipe (chuck roast, not kaleh-patcheh), and thanks to Holly and James for the suggestion. In the meantime, I’m tackling another recipe request from one of Roger’s friends, mostly because I have a tried and true recipe that I’ve refined over the years. Ladies and gentleman, introducing Zahra’s Spicy Chocolate Chili. You may never want chili made with dead animals again. At least, that’s what Roger says.

Zahra’s Spicy Chocolate Chili

The flavors of this chili are inspired by a mole. The recipe calls for stout beer, but you can substitute more vegetable stock for that if you object to the beer. It is just as tasty.


  • 1 large yellow onion (a Vidalia works particularly well), diced
  • 2 large carrot stalks, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large red (or any other color) bell peppers, diced
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large (22 oz or so) can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of frozen corn
  • 1 14.5 oz can of dark kidney beans (black beans also work really well)
  • 1 box of frozen boca burger crumbles (or 1 bag of Morningstar burger crumbles)
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 can of stout beer
  • Dry Spices:
    • 2 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate, grated
    • 1/4 cup chili powder
    • 1/4 cup of cumin powder
    • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper (more if you like the spice, as I do)
    • 1 tbsp of paprika
    • 3 tbsp of cocoa powder (the unsweetened kind for baking)
    • 3 tsp salt


  1. Add a couple of tablespoons to the bottom of a large poton high heat. I like to use my giant Le Creuset Dutch oven, but you can use any large soup pot.
  2. We’re going to start with a mirepoix of sorts (the ratios are a little off). Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and saute until the onions are translucent and start to brown a little at the edges.
  3. Add the serrano chilis, bell pepper and garlic and saute for about 3 or 4 more minutes, until the peppers start to get a little soft. Make sure you keep the mix moving so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  4. Add the vegetarian burger crumbles and mix well. Stir until the crumbles are no longer frozen. This only takes a few minutes.
  5. Take all of the dry spices, except for the grated baking chocolate, and add to the mix. Stir well for about a minute until all of the vegetables and veggie crumbles are well-coated, then add the vegetable stock.
  6. Add the corn, beans and tomatoes and bring the chili to a boil.
  7. Once the chili mixture is boiling, add the grated baking chocolate and bring the heat down to a simmer (low-medium heat). Stir well to make sure everything is well combined.
  8. Simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while to make sure the ingredients don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  9. When the mixture has gotten really thick and much of the liquid has evaporated, add the can of stout beer (or the equivalent amount of vegetable stock). Stir in the liquid and cook for an additional 15 minutes, at least.
  10. You can now eat the chili, or even better, turn the heat to the lowest setting possible and leave the chili on the stove for another hour or so. The longer you leave it, the more concentrated the flavor.

I serve this up with the following accompaniments in bowls and let everyone serve themselves directly from the pot (it makes the whole chili eating experience more rustic): 1. fresh salsa, 2. Greek yogurt, 3. grated cheddar cheese (soy cheese works well), 4. cilantro and/or flat leaf parsley, 5. tortilla chips. I also usually add some hot sauce, and often bake up some cornbread from scratch.




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