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Sometimes something sweet just doesn’t cut it.

What you want is something savory – easy to make, sure – but a dish that tastes like a weekend, even if it’s Tuesday.

These recipes deliver on all fronts. One is a classic Mexican casserole for that cast-iron skillet tucked away in a cupboard. We’ve topped it with chocolate mole for a delicious surprise.

Still hankering for chocolate? Add semisweet chocolate and chocolate stout to beef chili for a rich, complex flavor in a classic Saveur recipe.

Baked Mexican Pie with Chocolate Mole Sauce

Makes 10 servings

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 ounce taco seasoning
  • 2/3 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • 2 small cans green chilies
  • 1 small can cream of onion soup
  • 1 small can enchilada sauce
  • 1 small can refried beans
  • 5 standard taco size flour tortillas
  • 3 cups pepper jack cheese
  • Sour cream, chopped onion and chopped tomatoes for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Brown ground beef with taco seasoning and broth together in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Remove beef from skillet. In same skillet, melt butter and add onion, garlic and green onion and cook and stir until tender. Add green chilies, soup and beef mixture, stirring well. Transfer mixture to medium-sized bowl. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel. Lightly spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In separate bowl, combine enchilada sauce and beans, whisking well.

In prepared skillet, layer 1 tortilla, half of meat mixture, 1 tortilla, followed by half of bean mixture. Repeat once more, ending with tortilla. Top with pepper jack cheese

Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Garnish with sour cream, chopped green onions and tomatoes.

Mole Sauce Recipe

  • 5 dried ancho chilies
  • 1 small sweet yellow or Vidalia
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ teaspoon each cinnamon, ground cloves, dried oregano, powdered cumin, ground coriander, and ground anise seeds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 to 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup of raisins or diced prunes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Remove seeds and stems from chilies; soak in hot water until soft, 30 minutes or so (place a bowl on top of chilies to keep them submerged. When softened, puree chilies in blender. If skins are tough, pass through a food mill or strainer.

In a small skillet on medium heat, saute onion in butter until soft and translucent. Add garlic; saute another minute. Add spices and herbs; stir constantly for 30 seconds. Do not burn. Add chiles, almonds, onions and garlic and remaining ingredients, including melted chocolate. Puree until smooth. Add more water, if necessary, until consistency is smooth and slightly pourable. Store in fridge until ready to use; then reheat. Lasts about 1 week; freezes well. Serves 6 to 8.

Recipes from Chef William Gerstenberger from Crossroads Hy-Vee

Triple Chocolate Beef & Bean Chili

  • ½ pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 12 ounce chocolate stout beer
  • 1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Sour cream and roughly chopped cilantro, to garnish

Put beans and bay leaf into a large pot and cover with 3 inches water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, and stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 60-90 minutes. Drain beans, discarding bay leaf; set aside.

Heat a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add chiles, and cook, turning once, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water; let sit 20 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving ½ cup soaking liquid; transfer chiles and liquid to a blender with cocoa, oregano, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon and puree until smooth. Set sauce aside.

Add oil to pan and return to medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and, working in batches, add beef to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 4–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl. Add garlic and onions to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring until slightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add reserved sauce, cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Return beef to pot, plus tomatoes, beer, sugar, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until beef is very tender, 1-1 ½ hours. Stir in reserved beans, along with chocolate, juice, salt, and pepper. Serve ladled into bowls with sour cream and cilantro. Serves 6 to 8.


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