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Chocolate chips as a condiment in chili?


ronnie_suburban
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A friend asked me about this today because he was offered the aforementioned combination while tailgating at the Bears/Eagles game yesterday here in Chicago. To my knowledge, this is not a typically "Chicago" thing.

He'd never heard of such a thing and neither have I. I could see possibly including some unsweetened chocolate in batch of chili (still doesn't sound promising to me), but finished semi-sweet chips as a garnish is new to me and frankly, doesn't sound appetizing at all.

Has anyone encountered this before? Any idea about the origin of such a combination?

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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this sounds about as fucking shitty as the bears performance yesterday :angry:

Yes, the big difference being the predictabilty of the Bears :wink::biggrin:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I've heard of chocolate being used in chili before but, like you, assumed it would be unsweetened. I can kind of see it, since in Mexican cooking chocolate is found moles and other savory dishes. Maybe Chicago's large Mexican population made the connection? Maybe your friend just ran into a tailgater with strange tastes?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I've heard of chocolate being used in chili before but, like you, assumed it would be unsweetened.  I can kind of see it, since in Mexican cooking chocolate is found moles and other savory dishes.  Maybe Chicago's large Mexican population made the connection?  Maybe your friend just ran into a tailgater with strange tastes?

The folks who served this were originally from Chicago and had since moved (about 5 years ago) to Florida. Apparently, they were just in town for yesterday's game. Maybe it's nothing more than a 'personal style' issue. My buddy tells me that eveyone in their group was tuned into this serving method and that the bowl of chocolate chips was lined up right between the cheese and the onions. :wacko:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Some thinly shaved bittersweet chocolate might not be bad. I could go for a touch of sweet to offset a very spicy chili. However, no chocolate chips for me. If they don't melt much, you get hard bits in chili and that's so wrong except maybe for some crunchy Fritos. If they do melt, I'm imagining ugly, slimy puddles.

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I've heard of chocolate being used in chili before but, like you, assumed it would be unsweetened.  I can kind of see it, since in Mexican cooking chocolate is found moles and other savory dishes.

I generally add brown sugar to sweeten spicy chili and have added cocoa powder before too. I can almost see chocolate chips, bittersweet not milk. As a kid, I used to love spaghetti day at home because after school I would spread a little of my mom's sauce on a chocolate chip cookie. There too, it was that sweet little burst that played so well with the acid.

Bode

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Actually, I've heard of the reverse - a friend of a friend makes chocolates with habeñero peppers in them! Tasty, but they just get hotter, and hotter, and HOTTER in your mouth! :shock:

"I would kill everyone in this forum for a drop of sweet beer." - Homer Simpson (adapted)

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I, too, add unsweetened chocolate to my chili.  But not as a condiment, as a seasoning while it's cooking.

This makes much more sense to me. Not only are you using unsweetened (which is mole'-like) but adding it during the cooking (or similarly adding cocoa powder as BeJam mentioned) allows for it to become equally distributed throughout the batch. Rhea's concerns are similar to mine. But, on top of all that, I'm still not sure these flavors are ones I want to combine. Guess I'll have to try it and find out for myself. And again, I have no idea what kind of chili was being served in yesterday's case and I'm not sure my friend is adept enough to describe it to me accurately.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I am kind of following the rest of the crowd here. I don't find unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder that unusual in chili recipes. It rounds out the flavors nicely but you probably wouldn't know it was in there if not told. But little puddles of melted chips on top... ick. Then, if you have a nice red grease slick on top of that chili it gets even worse to think about.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Native Texan (now transplanted) here. I'm with Fifi on this one; unsweetened chocolate is not at all uncommon in chili recipes. Sweetened chocolate sounds like an ill-fated attempt to "improve" something that doesn't need improving.

THW

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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I have several chili recipes that include chocolate. There are quite a few on the various recipe sites around the web.

Here is one at Recipe Source, formerly SOAR.

The first time I had a chile dish that included chocolate was in Mexico City about 30 years ago.

It was a stew, made with turkey, peppers, beans and plantain which I could recognize. It also contained other things which I could not. I didn't speak enough Spanish to get the whole story but was able to understand it was cacao when they brought me a handful of the beans.

I came back with a lot of questions about the use of chocolate in savory dishes and began asking questions of cooks in Mexican restaurants, which we have in abundance in southern California.

I began collecting recipes from various sources and tried quite a few. Not all were successful, I fear that some of the cooks omitted either some ingredients or some process that made a difference.

I make a black bean chile, which can use just about any meat, or none for a vegetarian meal, and which includes bittersweet chocolate and one doesn't really taste the chocolate.

Moving east, there is this recipe for Cincinatti style chili.

And here is a commercial product (from Georgia) that includes chocolate: Here.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Oh yes, there is or used to be a restaurant in San Antonio, on the River Walk, that serves a black bean chili that also includes chocolate.

I can't recall the name off hand, it has been quite a few years since I was there but it is next door to an art gallery that specializes in Mexican native art.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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If they do melt, I'm imagining ugly, slimy puddles.

I am too. But you know, this thing is weird enough to try just once. After all, it's just a condiment, not an essential ingredient, so it wont't sully the whole batch.

OK. First eGull to make chili has to give it a try and report in full.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Awesome, Andie!

As usual, you are a font of useful information.

Thanks for filling in a few of the blanks. :smile:

And Maggie, I agree. I can think of no good reason not to sacrifice 1 solitary cup of chili to the 'chocolate chip gods' next time I churn out a batch. Seems like a small price to pay in the name of research. :wink:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I can think of no good reason not to sacrifice 1 solitary cup of chili to the 'chocolate chip gods' next time I churn out a batch. 

=R=

a good reason is you're wasting one cup of chili that you could have given to me :wink: . and you do make good chili if i remember. of course, it's not as good as mine :raz: .

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a good reason is you're wasting one cup of chili that you could have given to me :wink: . and you do make good chili if i remember. of course, it's not as good as mine  :raz: .

Well...maybe just a ramekin, then. :wink::biggrin:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I'm having frito pie for dinner and I refuse to put chocolate chips on it.  I think you may be on your own for this one Ronnie dear. :)

Oh, c'mon, Cathy! Take one for the team.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I have more information.

I walked over and talked to my neighbor, Lupe Obregon. Her sister Florida Villegas, is a molero. She makes moles, pastes, liquid sauces and dry mixtures which she sells to restaurants and hotels in Mexico City. She is a judge at this years Mole festival or fair. Mrs. Obregon told me the name of the place but between there and here I forgot. It is somewhere near Mexico City.

Lupe has a stack of recipes from her sister, for various moles and most include chocolate. She is going to translate a few for me sometime during the next few days and she swears she will not omit a single thing but says some ingredients might be difficult to find in some places in the US.

As soon as I get the information I will be sure and pass it along. I know that Lupe makes a killer chicken mole and at Christmas time she makes a traditional mole with turkey that is out of this world.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I am thinking that the addition of chocolate to "traditional" chili is a segue from the moles. Hey... It is really good there, why not in chili? Keeping in mind that the origin of chili is probably from the cattle camps in northern Mexico and what is now Texas, it began as a very simple dish... beef, onions (probably wild onions of some sort on the trail) and chile peppers. Then the Chili Queens in San Antonio took over in the mid 1800's and developed it into an art form. While I am not hung up on the "traditional" simple dish, I do make it from time to time. It is surprisingly good and more complex in flavor than you would guess. But... we can't resist tinkering. I happen to think that the chocolate tinkering is a good thing. But, I think I will draw the line at sprinkling it with chocolate chips. :raz: Famous Amos' Toll House Chili???... Get a rope! :raz:

But, if some brave eGullet soul tries it, I would love to hear what they think.

Andie... Any recipes you can gather will be cherished, I am sure. Please hold onto them (after sharing :biggrin: ) for when RecipeGullet is back on line.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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She is going to translate a few for me sometime during the next few days and she swears she will not omit a single thing but says some ingredients might be difficult to find in some places in the US.

As soon as I get the information I will be sure and pass it along.  I know that Lupe makes a killer chicken mole and at Christmas time she makes a traditional mole with turkey that is out of this world.

Andie,

This would be very much appreciated. In fact, having a few such recipes would be a far greater return than I could have ever anticipated when I started this thread. Who knew what starting this discussion would lead to? Very nice. :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I have to make a correction. Lupe's sister is a "Molera" a woman, a "Molero" is a man. Lupe and I had a conversation after I signed off last night and she corrected me.

Florida has been here on visits but I had no idea what she did for a living. Her husband was a molero and she helped him and after he passed away she took over the shop and expanded on it.

I occasionally make a very complex chili with about 40 ingredients, including some very unusual things, and prepared this for one of our combined cookouts and Florida and I, with the assistance of one of Lupe's sons, had a long discussion about where I got the recipe, how I expanded and developed it and how in flavor, it was very similar to some dishes she had prepared but with many dissimilar ingredients.

I am not a purist when it comes to such things as chili. I am not cooking for a contest and do not have to follow rules, so if I want to add Hoisin sauce and Thai sweet chile sause and sweet soy sauce, or an Indonesian sambal, I can do so.

I always make three versions, mild, hot and "my God, I have swallowed a blow-torch" as one person referred to it at a Chile-Head's "Hot-Luck" I attended in Mission Viejo a few years back.

I don't really care for the super hot stuff myself, but am happy to prepare it for those who do. Frankly, I can't see the point in eating something just because it causes pain even though those who do rattle on about endorphins and the "high" they get after such a meal.

I always think about the longer term effect and feel it is prudent to be more judicious in the amount of capsaicin I consume.

I think this is going to be fun. And I will post my "semi-famous" recipe here and on Recipe Gullet when needed.

It is coming up on the time for it. I have some pumpkins that are going to be ripe in a couple of weeks. The chile does include some pumpkin......

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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