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Savory chocolate recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

More than just dessert

Chocolate is most commonly used for the sweeter side of cooking and baking, but did you know there is a savory side of chocolate as well? Chocolate and cocoa powder have been used for years as a savory component of sauces and marinades, most popularly in Mexican recipes, and creative chefs today are incorporating cocoa powder and chocolate into remarkable main course meals. Adding chocolate to a dish adds a rich depth of flavor and a great contrast of sweet and savory - here are just a few of the centerpiece recipes you can make with chocolate.

Vegetarian Chocolate Chili

Makes 6 servingsIngredients:
2 medium dried ancho chiles, rinsed, patted dry, split lengthwise, seeded
1 dried chipotle chile, rinsed, patted dry, split lengthwise, seeded
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 zucchini and/or yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cubed
3/4 pound kale, stems, ribs discarded, leaves chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, shaved or grated
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, chopped
1-1/4 cups water
3 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained, rinsedDirections:
1. Cook chile peppers flat in a skillet on both sides over medium heat until just tender, about 30 seconds. Cut into small pieces. (Be sure to turn the fan on over the stove and don't breathe the vapors rising up from the skillet.)2. Combine chile peppers and cumin seeds in a coffee or spice grinder and process until finely ground. A mortar and pestle can be used as well. Combine chile mixture with oregano, cinnamon and salt.3. Heat oil in a large pot and saute onions unto softened. Mix in garlic and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in chile mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add zucchini or squash and kale and cook 5 minutes, covered. Stir in orange zest, sugar, chocolate, tomatoes and juice, and water.4. Place lid on pot and cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring chili often. When vegetables are cooked through, add beans and cook another 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, if needed. Serve warm.

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