Chocolate isn’t the most obvious accompaniment for savoury foods. However, it adds the most wonderful richness and depth to chilli-tomato sauces, and can also work well with meat and red wine sauces.
This Chocolate Chilli Bean Stew, with a Cajun twist, is much cheaper than a choco-meat dish but it’s equally as impressive. Most of the work is just chopping vegetables and cooking them, so it’s also quite simple. Buying each ingredient from scratch could cost between 10 and 15 euro, depending on where you go, but for that you’ll and have plenty of ingredients left over for other meals. Another option is to feed two and freeze the other half, or get two days dinners. You may already have some of the ingredients in your house, such as ground cumin, carrots, tins of tomatoes, onions, and lemons.
Chocolate and Chilli Bean Stew
- 400g tin of black-eyed beans, drained, or 250g (9oz) cooked black-eyed beans
- 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 25g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
- 1 big red onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped finely (or adjust to preferred spice level)
- 1 aubergine, chopped into small cubes (optional)
- 400g (12oz) fresh spinach, washed and finely chopped
- A dash of fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 1 green pepper (optional)
- 2 teaspoons of dried thyme, or 6 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat the oil in a pot and saute the onions for about 2 minutes
- Add garlic, chillies, thyme, cumin and saute for about 2 minutes
- Add the carrots and peppers. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add a dash of water if it is sticking
- Then add the aubergines and cook the mix for another 7-8 mins, until the aubergine gets soft
- Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well
- Then add the beans and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring
- Now add the chopped spinach and until it’s wilted
- Add some salt and pepper and the optional lemon juice
- Last – oh yeah – stir in the chocolate!
Serve with rice. I like this with baked potatoes.
There’s many similar versions, often using kidney beans, coriander, mushrooms etc.
For a sumptuous overload, this chocolate dinner would be good with Ruth’s so simple and delicious chocolate cake for dessert. If anyone could send in a recipe for a chocolate-based starter, we’ll have the makings of a chocolate-themed dinner party.