If you have 'chocolate' in the title of your chili recipe, I'd better be able to taste it. I've tasted numerous turkey chili recipes that claimed to have chocolate as an ingredient, but I haven't been able to taste it. This disappoints me. I'm still new to the world of chocolate; it's not something I've been able to enjoy my whole life. So if a dish claims to contain this wonderful treat, I want - nay need - to enjoy every morsel to make up for lost time.
I had planned to try out my own recipe, but was waiting for winter on purpose. Chili just tastes better in the winter. However, even though I'm in Florida, it should not be 80 degrees outside - in January. Last week it was snowing! And, no, I'm not making that up, nor was it frost or dew - it was actual, real snow...from the sky.
Anywho, a cool rain rolled into town today, so I decided to open the doors and windows and try out my chili recipe. I used mostly basic chili ingredients, but wanted something a little over the top, which is why I chose to include chocolate - and also lager. I'm not a beer drinker, but believed a smooth lager would pair better with the chocolate than chicken broth. I went to my local organic co-op for a quick tutorial and they helped me chose a pale lager, or pilsner, by Lagunitas. Lagers are bottom fermented in a cool environment, and pilsner originated in the Czech Republic. I tasted the pilsner before incorporating it into the chili to ensure the flavor would not be overpowering. The pilsner was light and smooth, just what I was looking for. I was surprised I enjoyed the flavor and the lightness did not leave an aftertaste. I might have to start testing out more to see what else is out there...
The pilsner also did not take away from the amount of chocolate I wanted to come through in the recipe. No one will have to guess what's lurking in this chili. I also made it thick and dense. I think a chili shouldn't be runny or soupy. The taste of this chili is a perfect marriage of flavors. None are overpowered and a little goes a long way. I chose to use hot cocoa mix instead of regular cocoa so the chocolate was more predominate. I also couldn't resist making some more cornbread to have on the side.
I'd recommend having the vegetables chopped and the spices pre-measured before starting the recipe. Also, this is the type of dish that requires tasting along the way. Keep a small spoon handy and taste as you go (making sure not to burn yourself!) to ensure the amount of spices are to your liking. My taste buds do not fair well with spicy dishes, so the heat level in this chili is mild.
Chocolate & Lager Turkey Chili
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 lb ground turkey
2 large green bell peppers, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 oz package taco seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
4 tbsp hot chocolate powder
12 oz lager (Lagunitas Pilsner)
14 oz crushed tomatoes with basil
15 oz kidney beans
15 oz black beans
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
(sour cream and green onions for garnish)
In a wide, shallow pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and cook the turkey until brown. In a large pot, add 2 tbsp olive oil and sweat the bell peppers for 5 min over medium heat. Next add the onions to the bell peppers and sweat for another 5 min. Add the garlic to the vegetables and cook for 1 min.
Add the browned turkey to the vegetables. Then add ingredients of cumin through hot chocolate and cook for 1 min. Add the lager and cook uncovered, without stirring, for 10 min. The pot should have bubbles, but should not be boiling. Next add the crushed tomatoes and both beans; cook uncovered on medium-low heat for 15 min, stirring occasionally. Finally, add the dark chocolate chips and stir until melted. Serve immediately.
~Yields 4-6 servings.
~Original by Brie.