There’s definitely been a chill in the air the past week, and this stew is the perfect bowl of comfort after a long day. I like calling it chocolate stew because it appeals to the child in me, but truthfully, I think my 9 year old self would have felt cheated that something with chocolate in the name wasn’t sweet. This is really more like a rustic chili than a stew, but it is easily made vegan by substituting pumpkin for the meat.
I was recently introduced to the concept of eating chili with rice, which makes a wonderful accompaniment to this dish, but it is also delicious served alongside some lightly sauteed greens, such as kale or chard, and a piece of whole grain toast or cornbread.
Sprinkle over the cocoa powder, paprika or chili and oregano and stir to coat. Toss in the cinnamon stick, then add the tomatoes and broth and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, cover and allow to simmer over low heat for at least 25 minutes, up to an hour, adding a bit more broth if the stew looks too thick to you.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, if desired.