Secret Recipe Club. Group D has been my home within SRC since I started back in February 2013 so it feels a little strange to be moving on! Next month I will be in Group C which posts on the third Monday of the month and I'm really excited to discover a whole new group of blogs and bloggers.
This month I was absolutely delighted to be assigned Lavender and Lovage by Karen, who is truly living the dream dividing her time between England and France. Karen's blog is absolutely beautiful and she has recipes for everything from simple home cooked favourites to regional specialities to fabulous breads and desserts.
I've had Karen's blog before and last time I chose to make her Saffron and Cardamom Sweet Buns which were so amazingly good my kids still talk about them! This time I wanted something seasonal and luckily Karen has some wonderful Autumn recipes to choose from.
I loved Karen's description of Autumn in Bonfire Chili with Beef, Chocolate and Pumpkin - she speaks of crisp misty mornings, crackling leaves, log fires, fireside suppers and hot chocolate. Where I live Autumn simply means that night time temperatures might finally slip into the teens but don't get too excited because it could still be 30 degrees during the day! I really do think I live on the wrong continent.
I initially planned on baking her Harvest Apple Cake which is a wonderfully simple apple sponge cake that would be equally good for afternoon tea or dessert.
But whether it was from dreaming of being in a true northern hemisphere Autumn or just the fact the recipe sounded so intriguing, I ended up choosing to make the Bonfire Chili. I've never made a chili quite like this one with chocolate and pumpkin and when the weather actually turned cool and rainy it seemed it was meant to be.
I chose to make the chili in the slow cooker which I love doing at any time of the year but has become my default these days as it makes dinner time so much easier to have a meal sitting there ready to go. We served the chili with some plain rice but it would be equally delicious with corn chips and cheese.
It was a hearty and warming dish to have on a cool night and my Mr 7 cleaned his plate not once, not twice but three times! I've never used chocolate in a savoury recipe before although I know it's quite common in Mexico. The chocolate made the sauce much richer and more complex without being overly chocolate-y. My husband also gave it the thumbs up despite hating pumpkin with a passion and having to pick around it to get his serve.
Slow Cooked Beef Chili with Chocolate and Pumpkin
Adapted from Lavender and Lovage
1kg casserole beef, diced into large chunks
2 medium onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
500g pumpkin, diced the same size as the beef
1 small red chili, finely sliced
2 ts ground cumin
2 ts ground coriander
1 ts dried oregano
1/2 ts cinnamon
1/2 - 1 ts chili powder
500g tomato passata
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs coconut sugar
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans
70g dark chocolate (I used Green & Blacks 70%)
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients into the slow cooker and mix well.
Cook on low for 8 hours.
Serve with rice.
Thank you Karen for a lovely recipe and a wonderful final month for Group D!