Mole Chili

 Mole Chili (print recipe)
4 dried ancho chiles*
1 quart beef stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tablespoon coriander
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon unsweetned cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chives, for garnish
Put the chiles and stock together in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Lower the heat and simmer about 10 minutes until the chiles are softened.  Using an immersion blender (or food processor), puree this mixture until smooth.  Set aside. 
In another saucepan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.   When it is hot and smokey add the bacon and cook until crispy.  Turn to high head, add the ground beef, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.  Lower the heat and add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add the other seasonings - ancho chili powder, paprika, coriander and cayenne. 
Add the tomato paste to the meat mixture and stir for one minute.  Then add the stock chile mixture.  Stir in the fire-roasted tomatoes, cocoa and cinnamon.  Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the chili has started to reduce and is of desired consistency.  Serve chili topped with cheese and chives, along with any other toppings you may prefer (sour cream, oyster crackers, red onion, etc.)
*I couldn’t find dried ancho chiles and so I used dried Mexican chiles.  Either work fine.

Recipe is adapted from Rachael Ray.

The Best Guacamole

This is not your bland version of guacamole.  It’s kicked up a notch with lots of spices.  To be honest, I prefer this guacamole over any other that I have tried.  My husband absolutely loves it.  It doesn’t last very long in our house!

Spicy Guacamole (print recipe)
3 ripe avocados
3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, minced
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
Queso fresco, garnish

Prepare all the ingredients before cutting the avocado.  Slice the avocado in half, scoop out the center, and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Immediately squeeze the juice of one lime over the avocado.  Mash and combine with all the other ingredients.  Put in serving bowl.  Garnish with cilantro, queso, and a sprinkle of cayenne.  Serve immediately, or press plastic wrap directly on the guacamole and store in the refrigerator for a few hours.  If you leave it to the air it will turn brown, so make sure plastic is tight against the guacamole.

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