This week, in our search for the chili recipe that we can call our own we experimented by adding a couple of new flavors. Rumor had it, that one could greatly enhance the flavor and complexity of a chili dish by adding a rich bitter flavor; common things to add include cocoa powder, dark black coffee, and very dark beer. I didn't want to have too many things going on at once, so I opted for the addition of the cocoa powder and the coffee.
For the two pounds of beef, I added 1 cup black coffee (specifically a dark rich roast), and one tablespoon of cocoa powder. Initially this change was very subtle to taste, but as I ate more of the chili, and my palate adapted to the spice and general flavors of the dish, the coffee undertone started to become much more noticeable. While the cocoa may have also added to the richness in the chili overall, the flavor was not discernible at any point in time. Next time I will double the cocoa powder to see the effect. Maybe it'll enhance the flavors even more, maybe it'll be too much and become overwhelming to the dish.
It should be noted that the addition of these two new ingredients, did leave the chili with more of a brownish hue than it had previously. The extra liquid from the coffee would have also caused the chili to be thinner than it had before, so to counter the effect I let some of the liquid cook off a little more and also added some extra tomato paste. I am proud of this and am happy to have made great headway on the path of finding the chili to call our own.