Monday, December 10, 2012

Lentil Chili with Chocolate…“The Chili That Makes You Feel Good!”

"By Tania Morrison, who recently used this winning recipe in a chili cook off fundraiser".

Recipe adapted from Brazen Kitchen’s original recipe
This simple chili is rich with hearty yet elegant Le Puy lentils, sophisticated spice alchemy, and chocolate!  Delicious and nutritious!

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon clarified butter
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped

3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder (typically found in health stores)
1 teaspoon grated dark chocolate (use chocolate with 70% cocoa or more)
1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cane sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 cinnamon stick
1 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes
3 cups Le Puy lentils (which hold their shape and texture well for this recipe)
10 cups vegetable broth (ideally homemade)
1 teaspoon salt
water (if needed to dilute chili)


Sauté leek, garlic and ginger in olive oil and clarified butter. In a separate dry, medium hot pan (cast iron or stainless steel work well), roast chili powder, paprika, cumin and chipotle powder for 1- 2 minutes (take care not to burn spices).  Add to sauté mixture and cook for 1 minute.  Add lentils, stock, and the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil uncovered then cover and cook on low for approximately 45 minutes.  Add water and additional seasonings and cooking time, as needed. Enjoy!

Notes and tips:

For the chili cook off, Himalayan pink salt was used and all other ingredients were certified organic.  An additional organic special spice blend (from Satya Spices, a local line of spice products) was also used to complete the flavour profile.  It included coriander, turmeric, fennel, dill, cloves, nutmeg, licorice root, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nettles, chili and cocoa (see for more information).

Garnishes for the cook off included a dollop of plain yogurt, avocado and crostini.  Freshly chopped cilantro and green onion would also work very well with this recipe.

Additional canned tomatoes may be needed for those who prefer more liquid in their chili as this recipe thickens when reheated. San Marzano canned tomatoes from Italy are especially delicious!

For those with sensitive digestive systems, explore the use of the spice asafoetida (commonly referred to as hing), which is used in Indian cooking for example, to help reduce the gas-producing effects of lentils and other legumes (see for information).  Alternatively, there are enzyme-based products on the market such as Beano that may be of help.  Exposing oneself regularly to small amounts of legumes may also help build one’s tolerance.

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