I grew up in Tampa, FL. And although I’ve seen snow, I’ve never had to endure a true winter.
Winter for us means a few days here and there from November to March where it gets into the 30’s (sometimes the 20’s) for lows, and into the 60’s and 70’s for highs. Then there are exceptions, like this January day, where we hover around 40 and 50 degrees for a high.
And that’s when true Floridian winter fun begins.
In these short-lived, blustery days, natives (like me) live. it. up. basically cramming any and every bit of winter fun into a few days of shivering happiness.
Hot cocoa? Check.
Heater on? Check.
Rosy cheeks? Check.
Black bean chili
A hearty and warming dish that gets better with time. Deep flavors and stick-to-your-ribs goodness without the sugar & grains. The figs give the chili a bit of natural sweetness, and the added dark chocolate gives the chili a depth of richness, color and flavor that brings it to the next level. Always make sure to read the labels as you shop for ingredients when new to NSNG. You’d be surprised how often sugars are hidden…especially in tomato sauce products and canned beans. And as often as you can, go with grass fed beef and organic produce and products. Grass fed beef is easier to find than you think. My local Super Target carries it!
1lb grass fed ground beef
2 cans plain black beans, rinsed and drained
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. Kerrygold butter or olive oil (try Villa Capelli olive oil)
6 dried figs, chopped
2 cans plain diced tomatoes
1 can plain tomato sauce
1 cup water (or chicken broth- but check the label!)
2 ounces grated dark chocolate (85% or higher)
2 tbsp. sea salt & 1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tsp. cracked red pepper flake
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. brown mustard (check the label!)
1. In a deep pot (with a lid!) or dutch oven, saute onion and green pepper in butter until soft. Add garlic just before the onions and peppers are done, but don’t cook long. Garlic becomes bitter when overcooked. Remove from the pot and set aside.
2. In the same pot, brown the beef, then add the onion mixture back in and reduce to low heat.
3. Add in the tomatoes, sauce, dates, and water (or broth) and stir to combine, cover and bring to a gentle simmer.
4. Add in dry seasonings, dark chocolate and beans and stir again, making sure the chocolate is distributed throughout the pot.
5. Place the lid back onto the pot and cook on low for 45 minutes.
6. Stir and let cool a bit, then enjoy with a dollop of full fat sour cream, chopped cilantro, or shredded cheese for a decadent winter treat! Enjoy!