Chocolate Chili and Cornbread: A Family Favorite!

cr-mountainThe Uintahs – photo by Hannah Freeze

Falling  – Down Time of the Year

The Fall of the year,

The Fall of the year,

Is really a very good name, it’s clear.

For leaves fall down

all over town.

They fall on their feet,  

and they fall on their crown,

they fall from the trees

’til the lawns are brown.

When Summer is over and Fall is here,

in the falling down time of the year.

-Aileen Fisher

It’s official!  Autumn is here!  There is no other time that makes me want to head up into the mountains for a few days than the months of September and October.  Something about the beautiful fall colors and crisp air leaves me wanting to pack up a trailer with some warm blankets, my hiking boots, a good book, and of course, some yummy comfort food – and escape for a few days!

Whether you are fortunate enough to be planning a mountain escape to see the fall colors, or if you will be spending the weekend at home – I have the perfect autumn recipe for you!  Anyone who knows the Croney family knows how we loooooove our chocolate.  It’s one of the main food groups, isn’t it?  So, it comes as no surprise that I have found a way to work chocolate into a dinner recipe.  It may sound a little strange, but the result is wonderful.  (Don’t worry, if you’re not a chocolate fanatic, you will still love this soup!  The cocoa isn’t overpowering, but lends the best flavor!)  And while you are at it, don’t forget to whip a batch of sweet cornbread.  It’s a must!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family.  Even better?  Here’s wishing you a weekend in the mountains, which will make it taste all the more delicious!

Chocolate Chili

(serves 2-4, I always double or even triple)

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp oil

2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

1 Tbsp. salt

1/2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. ground cumin

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

1 14-oz can chicken broth

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

1 c. chopped fresh parsley

2 15-oz cans white kidney beans (I use great northern)

1 Tbsp masa harina* dissolved in 1/4 c water

2 Tbsp. honey

1 c. sour cream

*masa harina is a corn flour and can be found in the mexican aisle of the grocery store. I store mine in the freezer in between uses.

  1.   In a dutch oven, saute the onions and garlic in the oil until soft.  Add the chicken and cook until browned.  Remove from heat.  Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and cocoa, stirring well.  Mix in the broth and 1 1/2 cups water, the tomato sauce, and parsley.  Return to the heat and bring to a boil; cook at a very low boil, partially covered, for 35 minutes.
  2.   Add the beans and cook 15 minutes more.  Add the masa harina mixture to the chili and cook 5 minutes more.  Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and sour cream.  (The sour cream tends to clump a little bit, don’t worry.)
  3. Enjoy!

Northern Sweet Cornbread

3/4 c. butter

3/4 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. cornmeal

2 c. flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 c. milk

  1.  cream butter and sugar.
  2.  beat in eggs.
  3. stir in cornmeal.
  4. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk ( I add about 1 c. at a time).  Mix well.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes in 9×9 square pan.
  6. Store leftovers in refrigerator, covered tightly.

Leave a Reply