“Chili”ng out

I am not a glutton. I am an explorer of food. Erma Bombeck

I  get all excited when I come across a thought I share with someone (this time a favourite author) I admire. Makes me feel that I am doing something right. You can psycho-analyse my statement later at leisure but first let me share my new-found enthusiasm (and recipe) for chili-con-carne with you.

A bowl full of comfort

A bowl full of comfort

Though we are officially in summer here in the UK, it is still fairly (okay, quite) cold on days (most). At least where I live, it is.

It was on one particularly chilly evening (Ha! A pun. It came unbidden, I swear), I craved for something hot, spicy and meaty. It had to be more substantial than a soup, and something that would be easy to put together. And quick. Now “traditional” recipes take about an hour or so to cook but on a recent Food Show marathon I had seen Nigella (Lawson) whip up a batch in a half hour. As you can see it was an easy decision as to which version to cook, almost as easy as the Chili itself.

The following recipe is a modification of Nigella’s quick chili but it works:

  1. 150g chorizo sausage cubed
  2. 500g minced beef
  3. 1/2 an onion
  4. 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
  5. 1 tbsp ground cumin
  6. 1-1/2 tsp ground coriander
  7. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  8. 1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
  9. 1 x 300g can kidney beans
  10. 1-1/2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
  11. 1 tbsp of ketchup
  12. 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  13. 1 red capsicum
  14. 2 cubes of dark chocolate (I used one with 70% cocoa)

Method:

  • Heat a tiny amount of olive oil in a sauce pan to cook the chorizo over a medium heat, until the sausage crisps a little and gives up its orange-red oil.
  • Add the onions and garlic. Take care not to burn them.
  • follow this up with the powdered spices
  • Add the mince and cook, breaking it up with a wooden fork to help it brown.
  • Once the meat is cooked, add the ketchup, tomatoes, kidney beans and chilli sauce.
  • Bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 20 minutes
  • Chop and stir in some fresh basil if you like

You can have chili with rice, or bread or sprinkle some grated cheese over it. Sour cream can be a good addition too at this point.

Now I am no chili queen, and my version was a deviation from Nigella’s as well, but I can tell you that this stew did hit the spot. I was quite generous with the seasoning, but I would recommend you make a judgement based on your own taste preferences. But yes, do not skimp on the cumin. As for the addition of dark chocolate, I had read elsewhere that it makes a difference. I am not sure how… maybe I didn’t put enough. Will be more adventurous the next time round.

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