This is the most decadent hot cocoa I have ever encountered.
Made thick and creamy by the emulsified ground nuts, it pours beautifully. There is a hint of robust smoky spiciness lent by the chipotle that compliments the chocolate, giving it a warm mouth feel no matter what temperature you serve it. The spice lingers on the back of the tongue, allowing the other flavors a turn. The anise is subtle, but with a distinct small bite, and traces of the cinnamon are there also. The annato doesn’t have much flavor, but adds a wonderful rich depth of color.
This recipe was probably intended to be made with water, and possibly even served cold. I like using milk as the base, as it increases the creaminess of the drink. When it’s cold the oils from the nuts rise to the top in a very thin sheen.
*Fun Fact: drinking chocolate did not violate the terms of fasting, as dictated by the Catholic Church. Win!*
“Laura made a great chili. She used lean-cut meat, dark kidney beans, carrots cut small, a bottle or so of dark beer, and freshly sliced hot peppers. She would let the chili cook for a while, then add red wine, lemon juice, and a pinch of fresh dill, and, finally, measure out and add her chili powders. On more than one occasion Shadow had tried to get her to show him how she made it: he would watch everything she did, from slicing the onions and dropping them into the olive oil at the bottom of the pot on. He had even written down the sequence of events, ingredient by ingredient, and he had once made Laura’s chili for himself on a weekend when she had been out of town. It had tasted okay–it was certainly edible, and he ate it, but it had not been Laura’s chili.”
-American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Predictably, this chili is as delicious as you would expect after reading through that description.
I love the colors of this thick and savory chili, those rich dark reds, the flashes of orange carrots, and the sprinkle of seasonings. The huge amounts of cumin and spices amp up the other flavors, while the dill and lemon add a bit of an acidic zip. I’d never before added cocoa powder to a chili, but after this batch, will do it to every chili to follow. Although not specifically mentioned in the ingredients listed in the novel, the cocoa deepens the flavors of the chili, and could potentially account for Shadow’s inability to really recreate Laura’s recipe.