Chocolate Really Should Be Its Own Category on the Food Pyramid

I mean I read article after article about the health benefits of the dark cocoa beans all the time. Chocolate really should be given its own designation on the pyramid. Not only is it delicious, it’s good for us, too. You just can’t beat that. I read somewhere the chemicals in chocolate mimic the hormones our brains put out when we are in love. Might explain a few things. Like why chocolate is simply irresistible at certain times in one’s life.

By: H. C.

Regardless, chocolate is usually associated with sweet things. Desserts and the like. I’m gonna give you a savory recipe, Beef & Bean Chocolate Chili, along with the expected Dark Chocolate Mousse recipe. I’m rounding it all out with my chocolate martini recipe. So if you make all three recipes, it will be filled with love. 😉

Here’s my caveat… buy good chocolate. Mostly, if you can pronounce the name, don’t get it. It’s not what you want. I like Guittard, Callebaut and Scharffenberger. But Ghirardelli will do in a pinch. I’m not a chocolate snob. Really. It’s just that the mousse recipe below is the simplest it can be. As a result, each ingredients flavors come through quite strongly. Bad chocolate equals inferior flavor. That’s all.

Beef & Bean Chocolate Chili

½ lb. dried pinto beans, soaked overnight with a bay leaf and drained
1 bay leaf
2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large white onions, chopped
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
12 oz. chocolate stout beer
1 ½ tbsp. brown sugar
2 ½ cups chicken stock
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp. lime juice
Sour cream and roughly chopped cilantro, to garnish

1. Put beans and bay leaf into a large pot (use at least a 6 qt pot so it can be reused) and cover with 3″ water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, and stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 60-90 minutes. Drain beans, discarding bay leaf; set aside.

2. Heat pot over medium-high heat. Add chiles, and cook, turning once, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water; let sit 20 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving ½ cup soaking liquid; transfer chiles and liquid to a blender with cocoa, oregano, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon and puree until smooth. Set sauce aside.

3. Add oil to pot and return to medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and, working in batches, add beef to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 4–6 minutes. — this is where your suppose to remove the beef to cook the other ingredients. I don’t. You can. If you do remove the beef continue following instructions exactly. If you don’t, just add the following ingredients with the beef int he pot.– Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl. Add garlic and onions to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring until slightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add reserved sauce, cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Return beef to pot, plus tomatoes, beer, sugar, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until beef is very tender, 1-1 ½ hours. — I stir in the beans with the rest of the ingredients. I like my beans to be falling apart.– Stir in reserved beans, along with chocolate, juice, salt, and pepper. Serve ladled into bowls with sour cream and cilantro.


Dark Chocolate Mousse

4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons espresso, hot water, brandy, Kahlua, vanilla extract or OJ
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.

2. Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate. Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

3. When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.

4. Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)


Chocolate Martini

vanilla vodka- about 3 oz.
Kahlua- about 1.5 oz.
Godiva chocolate liqueur- about 2 oz
dark chocolate sauce- about 1.5 oz.  (I use Torani)
splash of cream

In a shaker, fill with ice and all ingredients. Shake. Pour. Serve.

* I line my martini glass with chocolate strips of sauce. It makes it pretty as well as tasting good as I drink my martini.*

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