Most of us think of chocolate as dessert--or a dessert ingredient. It is also a key element in the very best chilis. A little bit of semisweet chocolate adds surprising depth of flavor, without tasting like candy. To be clear: your chili won’t taste of chocolate—it will just taste especially good.
The other element of this chili that makes it special is the roasted poblano, which adds very mild heat and a touch of smokiness. While poblanos, like all peppers, can vary in heat levels, they are generally milder than jalapenos. In fact, if you can’t find poblanos in your grocery store, substitute one small jalapeno. Roasting the chili pepper is key to developing the favor of the stew.
This very simple dinner to prepare is also quite healthful. Make a double batch and freeze it in individual portions for a quick microwavable lunch or a second dinner. Serve it over rice or with warm tortillas.
1 fresh poblano chili pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 (14.5-ounce) cans unsalted petite diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Place the poblano pepper on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until the skin is charred, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. After about 5 minutes when the pepper is cool enough to handle, rub off the charred skin and rinse the pepper under cold water if necessary. Remove the stem and discard the seeds; coarsely chop the pepper.
3. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the onion, garlic, and bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Stir in the poblano pepper and corn; cook 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and beans, bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
4. Add the chocolate and salt, stirring until the chocolate melts; simmer another 2-3 minutes.
Makes 6 servings