Back when my office was a little further uptown, I’d frequently stop in at a popular local lunch spot called Delica for a sandwich and a cup of coffee. On days when it was cold, grey, wet or snowy, I’d opt for their chili, which was a rich cocoa-infused concoction full of tender chunks of stew meat that never failed to satisfy. I’ve since moved offices downtown, but the memory of that chili stayed with me. It was/is, as far as I’m concerned, the Platonic ideal of chili.
I was chuffed to see that the folks at Delica were good enough to include the recipe on their website. So I made it at home (with a few tweaks) and spent the next few days telling anyone who would listen all about the best chili ever. Just try it. It might be the last chili recipe you ever need.
Heart of Darkness Chili (adapted from Delica Kitchen)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 lbs bone-in beef short ribs (the short, thicker cut kind)
2 cups diced onion
¼ cup minced garlic
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons molasses
3 cups canned diced or chopped whole tomatoes
Up to 2 cups water
2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
Preheat oven to 350F.
Heat 1 tablespon of oil in pot or Dutch oven and sear ribs in batches until well browned. Set aside.
Add onions and garlic and sweat for 2-3 minutes until translucent but not browned.
Stir in salt and spices and cook, stirring constantly 2 minute.
Add Worcestershire sauce, molasses, tomatoes and short ribs to the pot. Add enough water to cover and bring to a simmer.
Cover and place in oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until meat is very tender.
Remove ribs from pout and skim as much fat from the surface of the liquid as you can.
Remove bones from ribs and return meat to pot (you may lose some bones in the depths, so hunt them out with a pair of tongs.).
Add black beans and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Take out and let cool for 10 minutes and serve with sour cream or cheddar cheese, corn bread…