2008-01-05

Grass Fed Beef and Potatoes au Chocolat

Spices make this chocolate sauce muy fabulouso.

One of my favorite food-themed movies is Chocolat. All those sexy close-ups of thick and glossy ribbons of deep dark chocolate. The dustings of cinnamon you could almost taste. And the revelation of chile-spiked cocoa! It's enough to make any chocolate and spice lover swoon.
Flash forward. Winter day. Steve is turning, smiling- devilish- in the late afternoon sun that slants through the square kitchen window, unwrapping (vegans please skip ahead now to when I acknowledge your goddess-given right for a substitute) a gorgeous grass fed ribeye steak from Whole Foods and ponders, aloud, Should we make some kind of stew tonight- something Sicilian, maybe? And suddenly- feverishly- I am possessed with the idea of mole- a lip smacking, foodgasm-inducing Mexican sauce, decadently rich and redolent with unsweetened chocolate and spices.

You know what happened next.


Beef and potatoes in a chocolate infused sauce- divine.

Karina's Beef and Potatoes au Chocolat Recipe


Before we get started, let me point out- right up front- I conjured this from taste bud memory. It's not a traditional (read: "authentic") mole recipe. It's more my idea of a mole recipe. Since I cannot read or follow directions worth a damn, anyway, I winged what I remembered tasting in my carefree, oblivious pre-allergenic days.

For those of you with a hankering for chicken- sub the beef steak with cuts of your favorite bird.

For those of you eschewing the animal kingdom, I don't see why hefty tofu steaks wouldn't be absolutely, downright fabulous in this recipe. I might add them half-way through cooking time, though, so that they don't fall apart from over-cooking (and, natch, use firm tofu).

I slow-cooked my recipe in a Crock-Pot because that's what works for me here at high altitude. You can follow suit and Crock Pot your little heart out. Or do it old-school style, in a heavy Dutch oven or soup pot.

Ingredients:

1 2-pound or so ribeye steak, fat trimmed
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 medium gold or red potatoes, peeled, sliced
3 good sized carrots, peeled, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 cup red table wine (*may omit)
4 cups organic GF beef broth- reserve one cup to mix with the cocoa
1 14-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
A good dash of balsamic vinegar- at least two tablespoons
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup diced roasted green chiles- the hotter, the better
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cumin
1 tablespoon chili or chipotle powder- spicy or mild, to taste
1 teaspoon dried herb mix- thyme/rosemary/oregano/basil
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

To thicken, later:
1/3 cup sweet rice flour

Instructions:

Cut the steak into four pieces and salt the beef on all sides. Wait a few minutes.

Kiss the cook.

Get your Crock Pot situated and cranked to High.

Heat a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides to sear in the flavor, using long tongs to turn the pieces. This doesn't take but maybe five minutes, or so. Remove the beef and set aside.

Add a generous dash of olive oil to the Crock Pot. Add the garlic, onion, potatoes, carrots and celery. Stir to coat with the olive oil. Place the beef on top.

Pour in the wine, three cups of broth, crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, agave, raisins, roasted chiles, spices, dried herbs, two bay leaves, sea salt and ground pepper.

Add the cocoa powder to one cup broth (heating the broth helps to dissolve the cocoa- I did it in the microwave) and add the chocolate liquid to the pot. Stir a little bit to co-mingle ingredients.

Cover and let the magic happen- about 4 to 5 hours.

The stew is ready when the potatoes are tender- the beef should almost fall apart.

One half hour before serving, remove the bay leaves. Spoon out a cup of the broth from the pot and whisk the sweet rice flour into it; this slurry thickens the sauce. Add the slurry to the pot, lightly stir it in; cover and reheat through until the stew is thickened and rich.

Taste test for seasoning adjustments. Does it need a tad more salt? A dab more agave for sweetness? Ready to slurp?

Light a few candles, spoon the stew into soup plates, and dig in.

Serves 4.



Karina's Notes:

Traditional mole recipes add stale, crumbled corn tortillas at the beginning of cooking to thicken the sauce (I prefer the rice flour method).

Some folks add a spoon or two of peanut or almond butter. It is lighter without it.

Some recipes add chopped almonds.
Make it your own. Do your thing.



21 comments:

  1. Aiii so I've got this beef stew a-simmering on the stove and all I can think about is roasting some peppers and throwing in some chocolate powder. I love-love-love this idea, what a 'wave' to ride with you, m'dear!

    President, Karina's Fan Club, St. Louis chapter

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  2. OH MY GOD MOLE.
    I haven't had it in ages.
    I know what I'm having for dinner this week...

    Thanks for the recipe! [I especially like the 'kiss the cook' part]

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  3. This is just too funny because Alanna is cooking beef today, you are cooking beef today, and I am cooking Southwestern Pot Roast in the crock pot today! It's obviously a beef kind of day. My recipe is a total quickie, but this one sounds just too, too fabulous. Yum.

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  4. yes, mole, so good, on SO many things!! I used to make a mole tamale cassarole with beans instead of meats as the filling. Quite the wonder. Mmmmmmm....mole!

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  5. Oh this is going to have to be made soon. I don't do a lot of beef, but might make an exception if there's chocolate! Or I might try the chicken version too. Sounds like a warm and hearty way to beat the winter chill. Thanks!

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  6. Mary Frances22:43

    I wonder why I never thought to make mole. I love it, but haven't had it in ages since the stuff at the grocery has wheat...

    Btw, I think I must channel you when I grocery shop. I always have everything on hand for your recipes. Or it could be that I cook almost everything you write, at some point =)

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  7. Can't wait to try this one. I just made the butternut squash chili and the chili cornbread for dinner tonight. Soooo good. My family loved it, too.
    I was recently told that I'm allergic to dairy, eggs and gluten (still testing for celiac), and was getting depressed before I found your blog. I love to cook & experiment & I love food in general, so these restrictions have been difficult. Thanks so much for all your hints, tips and general feel-good motivation!

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  8. Anonymous11:32

    Wow, that looks so delicious. I also made your butternut chili last week to rave reviews. This is on my list now also. Question; you said something about the wine being egg free??? I am not aware of a an egg connection with wine, could you please explain? Thank you for your inspiration.
    Eileen

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  9. yummy! I can not wait to try this.

    --steph

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  10. hi karina, I'm being tested for celiac right now so it feels so good to have a website to turn to with gluten-free AND delicious recipes.

    this one sounds sooooo goooood. I will definitely try this with tofu.

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  11. wow, you most certainly are a goddess. I haven't had mole sauce (let alone home made!) in ages.
    Can't wait to try this one out. Yum.

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  12. emmabgood10:03

    I just found your site after New Years, - am loving it. Made the butternut squash chili was it excellent. I did however add a few drops of liquid smoke, I've always thought most chili's are up to the individual pallet when it comes to spicing agents. REALLY enjoyed it, did NOT miss the meat at all! This weekend? Mole of course! Keep on doing.

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  13. Savory chocolate is the best! Looks like everyone was craving it this weekend, we just posted a (gluten-free!) chocolate-chipotle black bean soup!

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  14. Nothing better than chile and chocolate! I love it. And I'm so glad you included the pumpkin corn muffins. I missed that one and they look beautiful. I'll try those soon. Thanks!
    Melissa

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  15. Thanks, Everyone!

    This mole was so easy- and delicious- it will definitely be a staple in our house from now on.

    And for those who mentioned my Butternut Chili recipe- yay! Glad you liked it. I imagine it would be fab with beef, too. Or chicken, for that matter.

    xoxo

    Karina

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  16. I may not make the mole this week, but it's on my list. Looks outstanding!

    Instead, I'll curl up on the couch with some organic truffles and Chocolat. What a wonderful idea.

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  17. mmmm, it looks great. But unfortunately I MUST keep to a diet and cant taste this. But I am sure I would love it!

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  18. I put this wonderful dish together this morning... Am thinking it might have to be lunch rather than dinner because it smells SOOOO good. Thanks, Karina. You come up with wonderful new recipes faster than I can make them!

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  19. Thanks, C and Susan, and Drdebell-

    Chocolat kisses,

    Karina

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  20. Yum! I want to try this with chuck stew meat. Would it be possible to make the slurry with a different starch, like arrowroot? How much more/less arrowroot should I use than the 1/3 cup sweet rice flour? Thanks!

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  21. Hi ~M! Yes, arrowroot starch slurry will work. You may need less than the sweet rice flour. Try 2-3 tablespoons in a little liquid. (I'm guessing.) You can always add more and heat through. xox Karina

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