Saturday, October 31, 2015

Triple Secret Chili


There is a secret to making chili this good.  Actually, there are three of them.



{Spoiler Alert.  Sort of}  This is my modification of the famous "Chocolate Chili" recipe created by Melissa Joulwan, which she shares in her brilliant first cookbook Well Fed.  I personally love her recipe as written, but it's not for everyone.  So to accommodate my family's personal preferences,  I tweaked it here and there... and then a little more.

 Secret #1 - Allspice

The first step is to assemble a blend of spices, starting with allspice.  Allspice is the crushed, dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica tree native to Central America.  It gets its name from the complexity of its flavor and aroma, as it seems to be a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, juniper, ginger and who-knows-what other exotic spices.  Measure 1 teaspoon of allspice into a small bowl.

Secret #2 - Cocoa  (That's right.  I said cocoa.)

An unusual ingredient in chili, to be sure, but trust me -- cocoa powder lends a barely discernible sweetness and a pleasant earthiness to the flavor.  (Plus, it's really fun to challenge your friends to guess what's in the chili.  No one ever does.)  Add 2 generous tablespoons to the spice bowl.


Crush a teaspoon of dried oregano in your hands and toss it into the bowl.  Then add 2 generous tablespoons of cumin and a teaspoon of chili powder (Or more if you like it hot and spicy.  I do not.)  Finish up with a teaspoon of salt.  Mix it all together, and set the bowl aside.


Now turn your attention to your stovetop, and brown 2 lbs. of good ground beef in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat.  When no pink color remains, remove the cooked beef to a colander to drain.


Using the same (somewhat oily) pot, saute a large chopped onion and 2 chopped bell peppers.  When the vegetables are softened and the onion pieces are translucent, drop in 4 minced cloves of garlic, and cook until the aroma goes from sharp to wonderfully aromatic.  Return the drained beef to the pot and stir it into the vegetables.


Next dump all the contents of your spice bowl into the pot, and stir it up -- beef, vegetables, spices and all..


Stir in one 14.5 ounce can each of pinto beans (optional) and diced tomatoes (not optional), 2 cups of beef broth and a 6 ounce can of tomato paste.


Here's a fun tip:  if you have one of the old-fashioned kinds of can openers, (not the kind that cuts the can open from the side,) you can open both ends of the tomato paste can, remove the top, and push the paste out by sliding the bottom of the can inward.


Now mix it all together, and that's all there is to it!   ...No, wait.  There's still one more secret to share.

Secret #3 - The Simmer

Once all the chili ingredients are mixed and boiling, reduce to a very low temperature and simmer, stirring fairly frequently, at least two hours.  This simmer time is crucial for all the flavors to meld and mellow.


This chili is thick, rich, complex and really, really delicious.  The perfect thing to make on a nippy Autumn day.  Or serve up during the football game.  Or any time, really.







33 comments:

  1. This is so interesting....I NEVER would have thought to use allspice and cocoa!

    Laura
    www.24-7style.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nor I. Melissa Joulwan is a genius, and I am glad to be learning from her.

      Delete
  2. I love chilli, yours looks tasty :)

    Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for hosting, and I'll be seeing you again!

      Delete
  3. I like a long simmered chili too. I have never tried allspice and cocoa though. I need to give that a whirl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting. I hope you give it a try.

      Delete
  4. I'm making chili tonight! Funny that I've used cocoa in my chili for years. You're the only one I've ever met who did the same! Thanks for some other cool secrets!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you're clever! I'm going to have to check out your stuff, too.

      Delete
  5. Allspice and cocoa?! Really? I'd need more chili powder but the rest sounds great!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks amazing!! Pinning and Sharing! .. just wanted to stop by from Whats Cooking Love link party and say hi!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing your 'secret ingredient' with us at #WednesdaysWisdom.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow you have a great tutorial here on Triple Secret Chili, I can't wait to try it. Cocoa and Allspice in Chili, very interesting. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kathy. I will be seeing you at your great party!

      Delete
  9. Oh, goodness. My mouth watered with each step! Thanks for sharing at My Flagstaff Home!

    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh yum!!! I want to try this... NOW! Sounds so good! Thanks for sharing with us at Mommy Monday. :) Pinned this recipe to our board.
    XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the pin! You'll have to let me know how you like it.

      Delete
  11. This looks and sounds so good.
    Thanks for sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J&J.
    We hope to see you again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, and I'm sure we'll be bumping into each other soon!

      Delete
  12. mmm - makes me hungry for chili! Thanks for sharing on What's for Dinner at the Lazy Gastronome -

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't take much to make me hungry for chili! Thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  13. This sounds so delicious! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Talk. I'll have to give this recipe a try! I'll be sharing it tomorrow on my Features post.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for sharing your three secrets! I've pinned your post and look forward to trying it. Thanks for joining #sundaysdownunder

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I love being pinned! I will be joining you again soon.

      Delete
  16. What a great bowl of Chili, we will love it! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great day.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  17. I make award winning chili, but you have a few ingredients I haven't tried. I think I may have to experiment with my own recipe to see what I can do with it. One thing I can agree on is the simmer. It is the absolute most important part. I have to make my chili on the stovetop. I can't use a crockpot, it just doesn't turn out the same, lol. Thank you for linking up to the Sunshine Life Link Up!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh I can't wait to make this! I love Melissa Joulwan's recipes and I'm a granny too so I feel like you are kindred spirit! Pinning and making this recipe this weekend. Looks soooooo good.

    ReplyDelete