This Great British favourite is one of those recipes that everyone likes to do differently, and everybody I know has their own secret ingredients. Some like using melted chili chocolate, others swear by Scotch Bonnet chillies. Some people produce bottles of authentic chili sauce they bought in the Caribbean over the summer. I have a really simple ingredient that improves the flavour. Time.
This recipe is designed to serve two people.
So we will need the following:
One large onion,
one punnet of mushrooms,
one red and one green or yellow pepper,
a pound and a half of good quality minced beef,
one tin of decent chopped tomatoes,
one tin of kidney beans,
two glasses of red wine,
a handful of grated cheese,
salsa sauce, oregano, crushed chillies, paprika, black pepper, salt, sugar, worcestershire sauce, or anything spicy that you can get your hands on.
Start by dicing up the onions and peppers and cut the mushrooms into chunky slices. Remove mince from wrapper and open the tins of tomatoes and kidney beans. Drain the salt water out of the tin of kidney beans.
Take a large wok. add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat gently. Add one piece of diced onion. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add all the diced onion.
Slowly stir the onion around the pan. Keep it moving so it doesn’t burn, but occasionally spread it flat throughout the pan so it browns. If you see any black bits, reduce the heat immediately and remove pan from the hob for two minutes.
As soon as the onion is brown, add the thickly sliced mushrooms. These will soak up the excess oil. Continue to stir and the mushrooms will cook and shrink quickly.
Add the peppers for colour, and continue to stir, as they cook.
Next add all the mincemeat and break it down with a spatula, so you don’t get any big chunks. It should be nice and even. Stir it in well until the mince is completely brown.
Add your tomatoes and kidney beans. Continue to stir and mingle all the ingredients and flavours. Keep the tomato tin and half fill it with warm water. That way you use up the rest of the tomato juice. (Thanks, Nigella, for that one. You sexy minx.)
That’s the basics, this is where it get’s personal.
Take two glasses of red wine (approx 175ml), add one to the pan. The other one, you drink. Cheers.
Add a sprinkle of salt, the same of sugar, a light dusting of black pepper, the same of paprika, oregano, a tablespoon and a half of crushed chillies, a tablespoon of salsa sauce and two tablespoons of worcestershire sauce. Mix it all in well.
Reduce heat and allow to simmer. Stir occasionally. If it is drying up add some of the tomato-water.
Boil a kettle and add water to a separate saucepan. Fill two cups with rice, about four-fifths full, and add to the boiling water. Allow the rice to simmer for ten minutes.
While the rice is doing it’s thing, test the chili con carne. Is it too sweet? too salty? too bland? Add more spices, seasonings or sugar to suit. In extremis I have known people to add brown sauce, marmite or ketchup.
Set your oven to 190 degrees centegrade. Spoon the Chili into two oven-proof dishes and sprinkle with a handful of grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for five or six minutes.
Meanwhile drain the rice of the water. Take a yoghurt pot and spoon the rice into the pot, packing it down hard. Carefully press the pot onto an overturned plate, turn it back over, and remove pot carefully. Hopefully you will have a nicely sculpted rice mountain.
Remove the chili from the oven using a thick cloth and place it on the plate next to the rice. For garnish, add a sprinkle of paprika to both. You may also serve with tortilla chips, but these are an optional extra.
Chili con Carne always tastes better the next day, so don’t throw away any that you have left in the pan. Spoon it into a container and allow to cool on a high shelf in the fridge. Have it on a jacket potato or in a faijita.
Hope you enjoy it!
The hottest chili I ever had was the Rufus Valdez chili in Malia, Crete. It contained more scotch bonnet chilies than I have ever seen. My tongue was numb for hours!