Chocolate Chili

I really like this chili recipe! It’s a great winter meal and the flavors are incredible. I like that it’s so easily adaptable to local sources and it’s perfect for using up the foods I put by for the winter. (I really do need an upright freezer!) It’s also an easy and fun recipe to change up a bit each time, based on my mood and what’s on hand.

This time, I swapped out the jalapenos for a poblano pepper and added a bell pepper and swapped out the maple syrup for honey. I left out the beans. Last week, I got chipotle bacon at the farmer’s market and that worked out excellently in this dish.


I wasn’t in the mood to bake the corn bread, so I just had corn instead. I really do prefer having my corn in the winter! It seems like there’s so much of it and I take it for granted in the summer, but nothing brings back the bounty of summer like hot buttered corn in January!

This is not a “challenge meal.” For the first time since I became a locavore, I’m not participating in a Dark Days Eat Local Challenge. The regular challenge isn’t running this year (though there is a small group from another region doing their own thing). I will still be eating locally throughout the dark days but actually, finding local food in the winter no longer the challenge it once was. I am lucky to have many nearby farms and farmers markets that go through the winter. Meat and dairy are easy to come by in these parts. And I collected and put by enough veggies and those “ancillary items” you need to make soups, stews, one pot slow-and-low meals (like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs). The challenge remains cooking from scratch while living and working in the 21st century!

I did come across the Pantry Challenge, which is about using what you have before you go out and buy more stuff. I like the idea of using up the things I put by and clearing out the freezer to make space for the new season. Truth be told, I still have a lot of food from last year in there. (Cut me some slack—it’s a chest freezer and I have to empty it out to find anything! It’s not like I haven’t been pining for an upright freezer for like forever.) Since I found this challenge a bit late and it isn’t exactly what I’m looking to achieve, I’ll be doing my own little “use up my stuff” challenge.

In fact, the corn, tomatoes, and poblano pepper I used in tonight’s chili are from my 2011 collection!

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