Monday, October 29, 2012

Cocoa Chipotle Pumpkin Chili

Ahhhh.  Sweet fall.

It seems like it was just yesterday that the sun was broiling my basil plants until they hid back in the ground.

Oh wait, it was yesterday.  Thanks Texas.

However, I suppose I can only be so grumpy, as Texas offered us a lovely cold front just in time for our church's chili cook off.  I mean, a chili cook off in the heat would just be... a tailgate party.  There is something about a nip in the air for a chili cook off, a blessing on the event of sorts.  And when I woke up that morning, I knew I needed to veer off my well-loved Shiner Bock Chili path (though it is a good path indeed) to create something unique and fall-like.

It was a recipe made up entirely of my whims and entirely to my tastes, and I think it is a winner.  I say it was my favorite chili of those offered.  Unfortunately, it did not win the chili cook off.  I hear it was too spicy.  I thought the spice simply countered the chill!

In short, I knew for fall I wanted pumpkin as the thickening base instead of beans.  I also wanted chipotle and cocoa powder to recreate a night by the fireplace.   The rest of the spices-- chili powder, cumin, and a special spice blend seen in the photo--fell into place.  I use a spice blend that I LOVE-- Chipotle Rub No. 9 from El Sol Gourmet Foods.  I found it at a local farmer's market, and it has been an excellent addition to our cabinet.  It came in an 8 oz jar, and half of it is gone.  Excellent on meat, in soup, on eggs, and in chili!  (So, I just cruised by their website, and it seems like it was forgotten.  The spice blend includes, in this order, Mesquite-smoked Mediterranean sea salt, celery salt, turbinado sugar, paprika, chipotle pepper, spices(?), garlic powder, onion powder and spices.)  Yes, there were two listings for "spices" on their label.

1 can pumpkin puree
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 medium sweet onions, diced
2 T oil of choice, divided
5 tsp chipotle rub no 9, divided
2 lbs ground beef
3 heaping T cocoa powder
3 T chili powder
4 chopped chipotle peppers
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder

1) Dump canned ingredients into the crock pot (viva la crockpot!)
2) Saute onions in two batches, each in 1T oil with 1 tsp chipotle rub, until browned.  I sautee lightly for about 5 minutes and then turn up the heat to brown.
3) Add onions to crockpot each time you finish a batch.
4) After you finish onions, brown meat in skillet, 1 lb per batch.  To each batch, add 1 T chili powder, 1 T cocoa powder and 2 chopped chipotle peppers.  Add to crockpot.
5) Add cumin and garlic powder.
6) Set to low and let it go until flavors are nicely blended:-)

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