Hey! Let's Have Some Chocolate Chili!

What happens when you mix two of America's favorite foods? Chocolate chili, that's what.

You've got to wonder what chocolate extremo first had the hankering for chocolate chili. It's not exactly the most obvious of flavor combinations, after all -- at least for those of us weaned on Euroamerican cuisine. An ancient Aztec might not find the idea all that surprising, given their fondness of chili-flavored xocolatl.

Be that as it may, allow us to introduce you to a concept which, while not exactly taking the cooking world by storm, has become firmly-enough entrenched to generate dozens of recipes, one of which we'll share here. Chili di cioccolato, anyone?

Mmmm, tasty

While it may sound like an unappetizing mess, chocolate chili is anything but. Well, it could be if you just decided to dump a chocolate bar into your chili recipe, and some recipes actually call for that -- but the really good ones don't. We'll be sharing one of the latter here.

Just remember, a good chili is essentially a good, thick stew, and must be carefully prepared as such. If you treat it with respect and you're not overgenerous with the cocoa, good taste will naturally follow. Ideally.

The Recipe

Okay, pep talk over. If you want some good, flavorful chocolate chili, it's time to drag out the heavy saucepan and get to work! And when we say "heavy saucepan," we mean it; this'll take a big one. A lot of ingredients are involved, in substantial quantities -- and here they are.

2 teaspoons of oil
1 cup of finely-chopped onions
2 teaspoons of chili powder (three if you're daring)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin
11/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
1 teaspoon of ground unsweetened baking chocolate
28 ounces of canned tomatoes
1 pound of ground beef
4 diced slices of bacon, if desired
1/2 cup of chopped green peppers
16 ounces of cooked kidney beans (canned beans will do)

Heat the saucepan on the stovetop, then sauté the ground beef and onions in the oil. For added flavor, add the diced bacon to the beef/onion mixture as it sautés. When the meat turns brown, add all the other ingredients except the kidney beans and the green peppers, and heat the entire chocolate chili mixture to boiling.

At this point, add the kidney beans and green peppers and allow the mixture to simmer, covered, on the stove for 20-25 minutes. A note of caution: make very certain that the kidney beans are completely cooked; in fact, they should be cooked all the way through before you add them to your chili. Kidney beans naturally contain a substance called pectin, and can cause illness if insufficiently cooked.

Once the mixture is finished simmering, turn off the stove and serve the dish piping hot. You'll have enough chocolate chili for a family of four, or at least one hungry Texan.