In the Hot Chocolate Fireplace Bulldog Castle, only warm drinks are served, with the exception of Scotch whiskey, naturally. In addition to hot chocolate, hot tea, hot toddies, mulled wine, hot spiced cider, etc. are available, and the whiskey selection is extensive, a regular library. Guests at the Hot Chocolate Fireplace Bulldog Castle are provided with the following: a warm beverage, a personal fireplace, a tartan blanket, and a personal English bulldog for cuddling. It is best to visit the HCFBC after a long walk in dreadful weather (sleet, snow, freezing rain)—the long walk could be miles across the moors to visit your closest neighbors, many city blocks from this museum to that, etc.
If your walk has been a particularly long one, you may be hungry. The HCFBC does not serve food (save for the occasional shortbread or freshly baked chocolate chip cookie), so you must visit the adjacent Rustic Cottage of Soup for a warm meal before you settle down with your hot chocolate and your English bulldog. In the Rustic Cottage of Soup, all varieties of soup are served: steaming bowls of brothy noodles with fresh herbs, wine-rich beef stew, sizzling spicy kimchi vegetable bowls, creamy wild mushroom soup with dill, and smoky beef and black bean chili. Here is the RCS’s recipe for that chili.
Smoky Beef & Black Bean Chili
- 2 Tbsp avocado, almond, or sunflower oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 1/3 lbs ground beef (preferably grass fed)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes, with their juice
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 14.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 square unsweetened chocolate
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring, 4 to 5 minutes more, until vegetables soften. Add the chopped garlic and ground beef and cook, breaking up with the stirring spoon and stirring occasionally, until beef is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne (if using), and chopped chipotles; stir until combined. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the beef broth; increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for one hour.
- Add the black beans, stir, and cook 15 minutes more. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate; stir to combine. Taste and add salt if needed.