Chile con Cacao


Chile con Cacao

Serves 4


~2 tablespoons olive oil

~1 large Spanish onion, diced

~1 large bell pepper, diced

~6-8 cloves garlic, minced

~1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

~1 Thai Chilli, chopped

~1-2 tablespoons cumin

~1/2 teaspoon coriander

~1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

~1 tablespoon cacao powder

~1/4 teaspoon thyme

~2 tablespoons smoked paprika

~Hearty dose of freshly cracked black pepper

~2 cans or 280 grams tomato paste

~1 can or 410 grams kidney beans

~2 cups protein of choice (I used extra firm tofu, crumbled)

~1 cup carrots or sweet potato, diced small

~2 limes juiced

~1/8 cup raw apple cider vinegar

~1 1/2- 2 cups water (may need more)

~2 cups Sunburst Patty Pan Squash, quartered


1) Grab a large pot, turn the heat up to medium low, drizzle the bottom of the pot with olive oil, and add your onions. Sprinkle a light layer of salt over the onions. Stir together well, and place the top on your pot. Cook for 15-25 minutes stirring every couple of minutes to keep the colour even on the onions while they caramelise.

2) Once the onions have cooked for 15 minutes add the bell peppers, sprinkle a light layer of salt over top, mix well, and return the top on your pot. Allow the peppers and onions to cook for another 15 minutes stirring frequently to keep the colour even as the onions continue to caramelise. Take the top off, and cook until all extra moisture has evaporated.

3) Add the garlic, hot peppers, cilantro, sprinkle a little salt over top, and mix well. Allow to cook for 1 minute.

4) Add cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cacao powder, thyme, smoked paprika, and a lil salt ‘n’ freshly cracked black pepper. Mix well. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

5) Add the rest of the ingredients -except the Patty Pan squash- mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and allow to cook for 20-40 minutes.*

6) Taste Chile con Cacao, add more salt if desired. If the flavours are not strong simmer for another 20 minutes.**

7) Once the Chile con Cacao tastes ready add the Patty Pan squash and cook for another 8 minutes or until fork tender. Serve fresh with something lovely and starchy. I served this dish with steamed potatoes – similar to when you eat Eastern European soups. I love a steamed/boiled potato with flavourful soup. It adds energy for your body with some good old healthy carbohydrates, and some balance to your palate to break up the uber flavourful Chile con Cacao. I cannot get good corn tortillas here in Brisbane, but if you can please buy them and eat this Chile with fresh corn tortillas…for me!

Note*: When you allow this to simmer tomato will get EVERYWHERE. I place either a splatter screen or the top of the pot slightly ajar on top to keep my kitchen a lil more spot free.

Note**: Maybe you’ve heard before that fast food chains or restaurants use too much salt in their food. Well this very well could be true. To cook very flavourful food sometimes you just need time. No time? People tend to add salt & sugar to make their food taste better. As you start cooking more and more notice when you are adding salt & sugar. If you have the time to cook/simmer something a lil longer go for it. This will intensify the flavour, and increase the complexity of the dish you are making. This is def not me saying ‘don’t use salt.’ Please USE SALT. It is great for you like all thing – in moderation. Take time to find that balance for you. Whatever that may be.

I hope you enjoy this recipe that I developed having grown up in a Puerto Rican family in Chicago, with a father who sold Mexican Food, which inspired me to live and cook in Costa Rica, eventually living in Australia -since November 2016- to start my newest adventures in life.

Much Luv, Laters


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