Lamb gives this chili a slightly gamy richness. The chocolate smooths the sauce and moves the flavor profile closer to that of a Mexican mole. The ingredient list isn't as daunting as you might think: Everything ends up in the slow-cooker, which should have at least a 5 1/2 quart capacity.
Serve with rice or triangles of warm pita bread.
Make Ahead: The chili needs to cook for 4 to 5 hours on HIGH or 8 to 9 hours on LOW. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Yield: Makes 11 1/2 cups
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of visible fat and silver skin, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large yellow onions, diced
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled, then cut into 1/2-inch squares
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon adobo
- 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added beef broth
- 28 ounces canned, no-salt-added diced tomatoes plus their juices, preferably not fire-roasted
- 30 to 31 ounces canned, no-salt-added white kidney beans or cannellini (may substitute navy beans)
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Combine the chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, dried oregano, dried thyme, ground cardamom and flour in a small bowl.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in three or four batches, brown the lamb pieces, transferring them to the slow-cooker as they are done.
Add the onions and eggplant to the skillet, stirring to coat. Cook for about 4 minutes, until lightly browned, then add the garlic and chipotles; cook for about 30 seconds, then stir in the adobo and the chili powder-spice mixture. Cook for about 1 minute, then stir in the broth and tomatoes. Cook, stirring a few times, for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to the slow-cooker. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 hours on HIGH (or 8 to 9 hours on LOW). The lamb should be falling apart. Stir in the beans; cover and cook just until they have warmed through.
Just before serving, add the chocolate and cilantro, stirring until the chocolate melts.
Adapted from "Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More," by Andrew Schloss (Chronicle, 2013).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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