Don’t give me that look I know what you’re thinking.

This weekend has been rush, rush, rush. I was panicking all day yesterday wondering what on earth I was going to present to you. I annoyed other people into helping me think of something, which has never really happened before. Shall I let you in on how this whole blogging shebang works for me?

I wake up on Monday mornings, droopy-eyed and full of bitterness about how quickly the weekend flew by, why it’s so damn cold and why I’m wearing two coats (yeah I know, what the hell, right?) Around lunchtime I start to wonder what could possibly sweeten up my mood.

 

Thinking about food usually does it for me. I couldn’t tell you why – although my belly, bingo wings and thunder thighs probably could. Figuring out what to eat by ingredient is much too complex for me, so I usually work out what would hit the spot by cuisine.

I do a hi-tech international Matrix-styleè brain scan of what I’d like to shovel in to my mouth as quickly as possible. Let me give you an example of the kind of thought process that takes place:

Chinese: Meh
French: No
Italian: Hmm
Japanese: Maybe
Thai: Ouhh…
Indian: Nah
Mexican: Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

I promise you this is going somewhere – sort of.

Next, I think of all the possible dishes I could create to fill this particular craving using my favourite ingredients and influences from that part of the world. I usually end up getting so carried away with this that I end up blogging about one of the dishes I cooked up in a fantasy I had earlier in the week.

I’m not the kind of girl to ignore my belly when it speaks to me, just so you know.

I’ve always wanted to make a spicy chilli with dark chocolate, inspired by Mexican ‘mole’ sauce. In my recipe, I used chocolate to give the chilli an intense, slightly bitter flavour to counteract the savoury notes already muddling in the pot. The result? A rich, hearty bowlful of goodness, topped off with a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of cheese and some fresh avocado.

Hand me the tortilla chips, por favor?

 

Now, if you’re Mexican or a whiz at cooking Mexican food, I apologise for this in advance. I’m not going to call this dish Mexican because it almost certainly breaks all the rules of Mexican cooking.

However, I’m not going to apologise for saying it’s delicious. (“It’s delicious”) – Because it is, and because I can say whatever I like here in my safe haven. Ha.

Black Bean and Chocolate Chilli
(serves 4-6)

Ingredients

160g dried black beans, cooked (I did mine in the pressure cooker)
80g dried pinto beans, cooked (I did mine in the pressure cooker)
80g dried soya mince, soaked in hot water then squeezed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
300g passata
2 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
2 tbsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander seed powder
5 hot green chillies, minced
125g 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
3 tsp sugar
4 tbsp lime juice
100g sharp cheddar cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
Handful of chopped coriander
Salt to taste
Around 1 litre hot water

To serve
Sour cream
Chopped avocado
Chopped coriander

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan or dutch oven. Add the onions and allow to brown. Add the garlic, chillies, cumin powder, coriander powder, tomato puree, passata, sugar, oregano, chocolate and cheese, and bring to a boil.

2. Add the reconstituted soya mince, cooked beans and enough water to cover by about an inch. Put the lid on, turn the heat down to low and simmer for around 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove the lid and adjust the consistency of the chilli if necessary. Add more water if it’s thick, or continue to simmer with the lid off if too watery.

4. Add a handful of chopped coriander and season with salt. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

5. Serve in bowls and top with sour cream, avocado and coriander. You can have this with tortilla chips, flour or corn tortillas, spicy rice or seasoned potato wedges.

Have you ever cooked a savoury dish with chocolate? If not, go and make this – pronto!

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