Monday, 19 November 2012

My Chilli Con Carne

Every good cook has that one stand out dish that they know is an outstanding success, the one that is a huge crowd pleaser and makes anyone who eats it mmmm and ahhh with satisfaction, whilst their eyes roll back into their head. You know you have done well when two helpings is not enough and your family sit in utter silence with wonderment, and even though they still have half of their chilli left they are still looking at the pan in hope that there may be more. This is my go to dinner, I can make it in a hurry and it never fails to please. Someone once said to me that it is very easy to make a chilli, but it is very hard to make a great chilli and this is too true. This is completely packed full of flavour and has a great bite to it. The difference with my chilli is that I love a smoky aroma to it and that can only be done with chipotle chillies, these are smoked jalapenos, and if you take your chillies very seriously as I do, it is worth buying these because they transform any chilli into a revelation.

You will need:

575g of lean beef mince
250g of chopped red onion
100g of chopped green pepper
100g of chopped red pepper
2 finely chopped green chillies
4 tbsp of olive oil
50g of garlic crushed in a pestle and mortar with 2 tsp of salt
1 tin of tomatoes
100g of brown sugar
500ml of water split into two
1 tbsp of white vinegar
1 tin of kidney beans
1 tbsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of chipotle chilli powder (if you cannot get this use chipotle en adobo in a jar)
2 tsp of sweet smoked paprika
2 tbsp of chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp of green jalapeno hot sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp of maldon sea salt
1 tbsp of 100% cocoa solids dark chocolate
the juice of 1 lime
150ml of soured cream
5 tbsp of freshly chopped corriander
1 tablespoon of maize meal flour (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
In a large heavy based cast iron pan fry the onions, pepper, chillies and spices (chilli powder, paprika and cumin) in the olive oil until the onions begin to brown. Frying the spices allows the aromas to open up. Add the beef and fry for a couple of minutes before adding half the water, this will allow the beef to break down easier. Once the water has almost evapourated and the mince is lovely and separate add the crushed garlic, if you do not have a pestle and mortar crush the garlic on a chopping board using the salt as an abrassive, if you use the end of the knife you can flatter the cloves and crush them into a fine paste. Once the rawness has been cooked out of the garlic add the chopped tomatoes and remaining water, add the vinegar, sugar and hot sauce.
Place a lid on the pan and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes is up add the drained kidney beans to the pan and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.
Bring the pan out of the oven and add the chocolate, maize meal flour and soured cream. Finish with the corriander.
Serve with fluffy rice, grated smoked cheddar, soured cream, sliced cherry tomatoes, sliced spring onions, my cornbread and my guacamole.

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