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Chocolate Chili Sauce

I know it seems unlikely, but think about it: one of the greatest sauces in Mexican cooking is mole poblano, which is based on chocolate. That’s a very complicated sauce to make. This is much easier, and while I’m not going to claim that it’s as wonderful as a hand-made, authentic mole, it’s pretty good. I use it as a very thick sauce with meats (it’s especially good with chicken and pork). It’s also good as a dip with tortilla chips.

  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh Anaheim or jalapeno (or both) peppers, all seeds and membranes removed
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef round
  • 1 cup cooked but firm red beans
  • 1 28-oz. can tomato puree
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 3 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco red pepper sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Tabasco green pepper sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, garlic and chili peppers, and saute until the onions brown around the edges.

2. Add the ground beef and 1/4 cup water. Cook the beef, stirring to keep it from clumping up, until it’s completely browned.

3. Add the beans and the tomato puree and raise the heat a little. Cook everything until the tomato puree browns.

4. Lower the heat to medium low, and add all the other ingredients. Bring it to a boil, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the sauce thickens enough to pick up with a fork.

Makes about three cups.

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