A friend had a chili cookoff. I made turkey chili. It has cocoa in it, which makes sense when you think about it. Cocoa heightens the meat’s depth, helping it mimic beef. Plus, it adds a note of bitterness and umami.
We get to the cookoff, and our chili is one of about five terrific dishes. I label mine with its God-given name: turkey chili. We all drink wine, munch chips, vote on our favorite dishes. Five chilis; three prizes; two end up getting squat.
My chili got squat.
It was no big deal. Except for my kids … it was.
“How could we have lost?” wailed one.
“You didn’t win, so you shouldn’t be a cook,” said the other. He’s my matter-of-fact son, and he’s still a little fuzzy (as are some former editors) about why I left journalism a few years ago and started life as a personal chef in the DC suburbs with my own company, Dinner … by Susan.
The first one continued wailing, but the second one said something very interesting: “You put cocoa in it; you should have called it Chocolate Chili.”
Dang! That boy is going to be a businessman when he grows up!
Chocolate chili. What a great name! It’s memorable. It’s catchy. It’s just weird enough to make you go, “Hmmmmm, I’ve got to try some of that chili.”
And that’s the idea behind this blog. Read it, laugh at it, have fun with it. Then get in your kitchen and start cooking with it!
Heat 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil in a large pot.
Add 2 chopped onions and saute until tender over medium heat.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin. Stir 1 minute.
Increase heat to medium high. Add 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey; stir until no longer pink.
Stir in 1/4 cup chili powder, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Add 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice, 3 cups beef broth and 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce. Bring to boil; reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 3 15-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed & drained, and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve with sour cream, red onions, cilantro and cheese, if desired.