If you think of chocolate as a sweet snack or dessert, that’s only one side of the story. First discovered in ancient Mexico, chocolate was consumed as a frothy, bitter beverage and it was regarded as the food of the gods by the Aztecs and Mayans.
At the recent Chocolate Discovery Session hosted by INTI College, we had an amazing time learning about chocolate with celebrity chef Chris Koetke, the host of the Emmy-nominated cooking show Let’s Dish on the Live Well network. Chef Koetke is also the Vice President of Kendall College School of Culinary, a culinary studies partner of INTI International University and Colleges.
During this special session, Chef Koetke demonstrated a complex savoury dish using chocolate and although you might be puzzled reading this, chocolate has long been used to make savoury dishes in countries like Mexico. This dish however, is a modern creation with many layers of flavour and it was a real treat.
So if you’ve always wanted to experiment with chocolate, here’s your chance to expand your repertoire.
Cocoa Chili Chicken with Smoked Chicken and Black Pepper Ganache Sauce Served with Red Pepper Mash and Cocoa Vinaigrette
Smoked Chicken Sauce
250 ml well-reduced brown chicken jus*
Smoked, roasted chicken bones**
30-40 g. cold black pepper ganache (recipe below)
Salt to taste
- Bring jus to a boil. Add smoked bones. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the jus takes on the smoky taste.
- Strain out the bones and bring the smoked jus to a boil.
- Whisk in black pepper chocolate ganache.
- Taste for seasoning and serve.
Black Pepper Chocolate Ganache
250ml heavy cream
250g chopped dark, semi-sweet chocolate
2 teaspoons (10 ml) freshly ground black pepper
- Bring cream to a boil.
- Pour cream on top of chocolate. Whisk gently until smooth.
- Add black pepper.
- Refrigerate until needed.
*The chicken jus needs to be well reduced and flavorful. This can be done through successive cooking periods with additional browned bones, sautéed shallots, garlic, and white wine. This sauce could also be a flavorful brown chicken sauce that is lightly thickened with a cornstarch slurry.
**The bones are first roasted until well browned. They are then placed in a sealed container with hickory wood chips that have been lit on fire. The bones are smoked for 1 hour until they have a very smoky aroma.
Red Pepper Mashed Potatoes
2 lbs. (900 g) peeled Russet potatoes, cut into a large dice
1 ½ cups (375 g) hot milk
2 red peppers, diced
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) minced green onions
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) chile powder
- Place potatoes in a large saucepot and cover in cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a steady boil and cook until the potatoes are very tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, sauté red peppers in olive oil until very soft.
- Drain potatoes in a colander. Allow to drain until completely dry. Return to the pot and mash while steaming hot. (If the potatoes are not mashed while totally hot, they risk becoming irreversibly gluey.)
- Add hot milk into potatoes and stir to combine. Add sautéed red peppers, green onions, butter, salt and chile powder. Stir until incorporated and serve.
Cocoa Chili Rub
Enough for 4 chicken breasts
4 teaspoons (20 ml) paprika
2 teaspoons (10 ml) dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground black pepper
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon
- Combine ingredients. Apply to chicken breasts along with salt before sautéing (over moderate heat) or roasting.
Yields 90 ml
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
¼ teaspoon (1.5 ml) salt
Several large pinches freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil
- In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
- When combined, drizzle in the oil slowly while whisking constantly. Serve with your favorite salad greens combined with orange segments and minced chives.
Next, we’ll be showing you how to make a traditional Mexican dish also made with chocolate called Mole Poblano. Stay tuned for more!