Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chunky Mole Beef Chili

I found this recipe in a small recipe book at the store, called Canadian Living New Slow Cooker Classics. I love our slow cooker, so I picked up a copy. The first recipe out of the book to try, I thought, was the Chunky Mole Beef Chili. Before I get to the actual nuts and bolts of it, let me tell you a little about Mole sauce. It's pronounced [ˈmole]) Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl mulli or molli, "sauce" or "concoction") Modern mole bears little resemblance to it's historical roots. In pre-hispanic times, chocolate was a beverage among the mesoamericans, and not included in their pepper sauces, called "mulli" Different mole sauces varied widely by region and availability of ingredients, and they could contain pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cilantro, garlic, onion, cinnamon and chocolate.

I thought that a big selling point around here would be the chocolate content, so I gave the recipe a try, but I had to leave out a few of the peppers for this crowd. Here is the recipe as it is in the book.
2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1" cubes
2 sweet bell peppers
2 onions, diced
1 cup sodium reduced beef broth
1 cup bottled tomatoes (I used canned)
1 can tomato paste
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
1 tbsp liquid honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

In slow cooker, combine beef, red peppers, onions, beef broth, strained tomatoes, tomato paste, chipotle pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin and coriander.

Cover and cook on low until beef is tender, 8-10 hours.

Stir in honey, salt and chocolate until chocolate is melted.

Makes 4-6 servings, depending on bowl size.

Now, a few words of caution here. Don't cut corners on this recipe. I had to omit the jalapeno and  chipotle peppers, due to a few non-pepper eaters here. I figured I could use whatever chocolate I had a round the house. You can't. The chocolate I had was sweetned, and combined with the honey and cinnamon, it turned out to be too sweet for at least one member of the family. The rest of us judged it to be somewhere between "pretty good" to "too sweet, cut back on the cinnamon"

When I do this again, I will not cut out the peppers (the non-pepper eaters will be offered a different choice), I will cut back the cinnamon to 1 tsp. and the honey from 1 tablespoon to 1 teaspoon. That should solve the sweetness issue.

I was wondering how this recipe would taste with chicken instead of beef. I'll have to give that a try in the future.

Have you tried this recipe before? Curious enough to try it  some day?
I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Brief Appetizer To Entice

This is the first post of my new foodie blog.  Food is awesome. It nourishes us, entertains us, brings out our creativity, our passions and memories. It can excite us, disappoint us, make special moments even more memorable. Food can be an amazing thing.
In this blog, I'll be discussing the textures, the dishes, the elements that make up those special meals that we all remember. I'll talk about the tools we can use to make stunning meals, the tools the pioneers used, as well as old time recipes from the North, South, East and West. I'll discuss basic food prep methodology and terminology that many of us may not know about. I'll introduce you to new ingredients, new dishes and new ways of looking at what we put into our mouths. I'll feature cool places to eat, cooking schools, other foodie blogs that you should know about and up and coming cooks, and maybe even some of their recipes. I'll share some of our favorite meals with you too, along with what makes them special. I'd love to hear about what makes up your best recipes, your special meals and food related traditions. Do you cook well, or are you trying to improve your cooking skills? What is your favorite comfort food?
Let's have a conversation about food...