Willy Wonka might have tried it..but are you daring enough to order a 'Chocolate Chili Fillet'? The idea might sound crazy, but when you think about it, chocolate doesn't have to be sweet, in fact, the pure cacao bean is not sweet at all, it's got a bitter wonderful taste to it and it's a very versatile ingredient for both savoury and sweet dishes. Some chocolatier way back thought to put lots of butter and sugar with it and viola - chocolate as most of us know it.
There's another Willy Wonka these days, aka Willie Harcourt-Cooze, also crazy about chocolate. Twelve years ago, he took his wife Tania, sold everything they had, bought a cacao farm in the Cloud Mountains of Venezuela and moved there. After learning everything about growing, harvesting and processing their own cacao beans, they moved back to England (Devon) and built their own chocolate factory where they make 100% cacao bars (which are almost impossible to buy - the best you'll find in stores are 80% dark chocolate).
Like salt or pepper, just a small amount of Willie’s 100% cacao can enrichen the flavours in food, adding depth and body. In his recipe book (Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook, 2009) Willie’s recipes show how the ingredient can be used in a wide range of dishes, from Tiramisu and Venezuelan Hot Chocolate to Chicken Mole and Porcini, Gazpacho soup, and Chocolate Risotto.
Back home, there's a restaurant (one of my old faithfuls) that serve a Chocolate Chilli Fillet that might excite either of the Willie's / Willy's.
We asked the friendly chef Nicole Parfitt if we could dish out their recipe and they happily obliged.
Chocolate & Chilli Fillet
Sumptuous 280g beef fillet steak, topped with a decadent dark Swiss chocolate, red wine and chilli sauce served on mashed potatoes and garnished with sweet grilled peppers.
1 slab of dark / Albany 70% (or higher) chocolate
1 whole green chilli, de-seeded and chopped
15ml balsamic vinegar
1 sprig rosemary (for garnish)
200ml rich red wine jus (The red wine jus / gravy is made from a classic beef stock then adding red wine, let it reduce by half, turning it into a lovely red wine jus.)
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (Fill a pot ¼ with water, bring to a boil, place chocolate pieces in a stainless steel bowl and set over the boiling water – melt slowly)
When the chocolate is melted, place the red wine sauce in a pot when slightly hot then add the chocolate slowly, heating it together. Add the jus slowly until the desired flavour is reached, the sauce should not be at all sweet, more savoury!
Add the balsamic vinegar and chilli to the sauce.
Allow to simmer – do not boil
Grill steak separately and top with sauce – serve with fluffy mashed potatoes
Try it and let me know what you think! If you're not up to cooking it yourself, go to Rhapsody's and order it. It's definitely worth it.