There is a rather complicated, traditional dish in Mexico called Mole` that uses dark chocolate as its sweetening agent.  The dish really appeals to me but because of its complexity I have resisted making it.  I am also not in Mexico so figure it is totally OK to put an Em’s Food spin on all of my global dishes.  I am bone lazy.  Why go to all of that effort when you can create something amazing just using some of the ingredients?  This was delicious.  Rich but extremely satisfying and really easy to make.  Yes I used chocolate and WOW, what a standout!


Prep time:  30  Minutes                Cooking time:  3 Hours                $$  Medium Budget


Serves 4


Oil for frying

4 lamb shanks

2 dried chipotle chillies*

3 cloves of garlic

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

2 tsp of coriander seeds

2 tsp of cumin seeds

1 heaped tsp of dried oregano

1 cup of red wine

2 tbs of red wine vinegar

400gm tin of diced tomatoes

1 cup of beef stock

400gm tin of black beans, drained and rinsed

80gm of good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)

Juice of 1 lime

Sea salt and cracked pepper

4 tbs of sour cream

Steamed brown rice to serve (or white)


For the salsa:


1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced finely top to bottom

1 green chilli, finely sliced (seeds removed optional to reduce the heat)

1 cup of coriander leaves

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp of caster sugar

Sea salt and cracked pepper


Preheat the oven to 160°C


Place the chipotle chillies in a small bowl or jug and cover with boiling water for 15 minutes.


Using a small frypan, dry fry the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant.


Heat a large oven proof pot and add a little oil.  Season the lamb shanks on all sides and brown in the pot for about 6-8 minutes or until golden.  Remove and set aside.


Using a Ninja, Nutri Bullet or food processor, place the chipotle chillies (removing any stalks) with half of the water, onion, garlic, spices, oregano, tomatoes, vinegar and red wine and blitz until you have a paste like consistency.


Using the same pot, add the paste and fry for about 4-5 minutes or until the paste has thickened and changed colour.  Be careful adding it to the pot as it will splash so reduce the heat slightly before adding it.


Add the stock and black beans and stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and then add the chocolate, a couple of pieces at a time and stir until melted and combined.  Add the lime juice, season with salt and pepper and stir.  Have a taste and adjust any seasoning to your liking.  Return the shanks to the pot and spoon over the sauce so they are all covered and then place a piece of baking paper on top, tucking the sides down so it is nice and snug.  Pop a lid on and bake in the oven for 21/2 hours, stirring and turning the shanks 3-4 times.  If the sauce needs thinning, use the leftover chipotle water.


For the salsa, place the lime juice and sugar in a small bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the onion and chilli, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat.  Add the coriander leaves just before serving.


To serve, divide rice between four serving plates.  Top each plate with a lamb shank and spoon over the sauce.  Place a dollop of sour cream on top and then a nice little bundle of the onion salsa and serve……