Food and Beverage

Sweet Bites: Cooking Savory Dishes with Chocolate

This ancient food, favored by the Aztec’s, queens and kings and is synonymous with love, decadence and living well.

It is a perfect food to cook with. Savory or sweet dishes can benefit from its smooth texture, and varied tastes. Good chocolate added to a dish lends a unique richness to it.

Only the best quality chocolate will do to cook with. Choose chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids for optimal flavor. Other chocolate has added sugars and milks and will not taste the same. Chocolate pairs particularly beautifully in meat dishes like this one:

Swedish Chocolate Coffee Lamb

Ingredients:
50g Self-rising flour
½ teaspoon Mustard powder
1kg Very lean lamb (fillet or leg), cut into 3cm (1 ¼ in) cubes
75g Unsalted butter
3 Garlic cloves
1 large Onion
12 Shallots
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 tablespoon Kahlua (coffee liqueur)
250 ml Strong filter coffee
750 ml Good-quality lamb stock
50g Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70%, broken into pieces
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Spices and Seasonings
1 blade Mace, crumbled
12 Cardamom pods, crushed
1 Vanilla pod, de-seeded
½ teaspoon Nutmeg, grated
1 Star anise
3 Bay leaves, crumbled

For the Croutons
1 slice white bread
1 slice granary bread
Olive oil

To Garnish
1 tablespoon Crème fraîche
Handful chopped Fresh parsley

Preparation:

  • Place all the spices and seasonings for the croutons in a heavy based frying pan. Gently toast over a very low heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, removing from over before they burn. Put in a small bowl and reserve until needed for the croutons. Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F / gas mark 7.
  • Season the flour with the mustard powder, salt and pepper. Toss the lamb in the seasoned flour and coat well. Rub together 25g of butter and the remaining seasoned flour.
  • Crush the garlic, slice the onion into rings and finely chop the shallots. Fry in the remaining butter and olive oil until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
    In the same pan, fry the flour-coated lamb in batches until browned on all sides. Remove and place in a flameproof casserole dish and add the reserved garlic, onion and shallot mixture.
  • To the same frying pan, add the Kahlua and the coffee to the sticky brown residue in the pan and, over medium heat. Use a whisk to scrape up all the bits from the base of the pan for about 4 minutes. The sauce should be reduced by half and form a glossy smooth sauce.
  • Add the lamb stock and the flour and butter mixture, continuing to stir. Bring to a boil and pour over the meat and onion mixture.
  • Place the casserole dish in the middle of the oven for and cook for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 160°C / 325°F / gas mark 3 and cook for another 45 minutes or until the lamb is tender.
  • For the croutons, blend all the reserved spices and discard the cardamom pods. Cut the bread into cubes and gently fry with the spices and olive oil. Remove and set aside. Remove the lamb from the oven and stir in the pieces of chocolate and incorporate well into the casserole. Garnish with crème fraîche, chopped parsley and the croutons. Serve with boiled new potatoes or mashed potatoes and simple vegetables.

Tip:
Pour boiling water over the shallots and leave for 10 minutes to loosen their skins before peeling.

Makes: 4-6 servings

Recipe courtesy of Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate

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