Today's Cook the Book recipe is a hearty vegetarian chili, rich with cocoa flavor. There's no meat to brown, and the canned beans barely take any time to cook, so it's quick and easy enough to be made on a weeknight.
While some chili recipes call for stirring cocoa powder into the braising liquid, Scharffen Berger recommends that you first toast the cocoa, along with the herbs and spices, in hot oil. This way, the chili will take on a richer color and aroma.
- 1 cup diced (1/4-inch) carrots
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- One 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, with their liquid
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- One 6-ounce can tomato paste
- One 15-ounces can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- One 15-ounce can Great Northern or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn kernels, preferably fresh
- 1 cup diced (1/4-inch) zucchini
- Optional Toppings
- Hot sauce; grated parmesan cheese; green chiles, coarsely chopped; scallions, thinly sliced white and light green portions; sour cream
Bring a medium saucepan half full of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the carrots to the boiling water and blanch for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Drain the carrots in a strainer and plunge the strainer into the ice water. Remove from the water, drain, and dry on a kitchen towel. Set aside.
In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until light golden. Add the cocoa powder, chili powder, basil, oregano, cumin, and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, water, mustard, and tomato paste. Add the beans and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the carrots, corn, and zucchini. Cover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle into bowls and set out a selection of toppings.