Tag Archives: Cumin

Chilli Con Dos Carnes

I’ve made basic Chilli Con Carne more times than I can remember. But I was reading Nigella’s Kitchen the other day and thought that her version, which features cocoa powder and chorizo, might be worth a try, especially as I had chorizo in the fridge. This recipe, therefore, combines elements of her recipe and my own (although I’m not convinced the cocoa powder added much!)

I just ate mine with some home-made guacamole and baked tortilla chips with a light sprinkling of Gruyère over the top while it was still hot from the pot. It’s warming, it’s filing and it’s (mostly) full of goodness. And let’s face it, there’s not much better than a pot of chilli bubbling on the stove on a Sunday afternoon!

  
You will need: 

110g approx. of cooking chorizo

500g beef mince (or lean steak mince if you can get it)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp mild chilli powder 

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped 

1 knob of fresh ginger, grated

Salt and pepper 

1tbsp tomato purée 

1 normal tin of chopped tomatoes (400g approx.)

1/2 tomato tin of hot water swirled around to catch the remnants (full can of not using the coffee)

1 good splash Worcestershire sauce

1 can kidney beans 

1 carrot

1 onion

1 pepper 

1/2 cup brewed coffee (optional)

Beef stock (optional) – I used 1 Knorr Stock Pot

  
1. Slice the onion, carrot and pepper however you like and add to a casserole dish which has been preheating on the job with a splash of oil in it and cook until starting to soften. 

2. Slice the chorizo into thick disks, then quarter the disks. Add a new pan on a low heat and cook on both sides until starting to brown, and until you see the fat starts to render out. You can, of course, cook this in the main casserole dish if you’d like; I just prefer it this way so you can control how much fat ends up in the final Chilli. 

3. Add the grated garlic and ginger, stir, then add the tomato purée, turning down the heat to avoid the garlic burning and to help the tomato purée to render out into sweetness. Then add the chorizo to the vegetables, and however much fat you wish to include. I used quite a hot chorizo so I got rid of all of the rendered fat, leaving a residue in the pan for browning the mince. 

  

4. How you continue at this point is up to you, but for me, this was dictated by the size of my casserole dish!  You want to gently brown the mince, not boil it, so if you don’t have alot of space in the casserole (or large saucepan), I would advice browning the mince in the pan you used for the chorizo. Add the mince to the pan in batches, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan, occasionally flipping and stirring it, until it had sealed all over. Sprinkle the mince with the cocoa, dried herbs and dried spices. 

5. Add the mince to the casserole, stir into the vegetables and add the tomatoes, water, stock, coffee and Worcestershire sauce. Give it all a good stir and allow to simmer on a low heat for at least 40 minutes, but 1 or 2 hours would be best, stirring occasionally. If it starts to get dry, add in some more water or coffee. 

 
6. When you think you’re about half an hour or so from the finish, strain the kidney beans and add them to the Chilli. I like to rinse them out as well, as they seem to accumulate a purple goo in the tin which perturbs me a little!

7. Continue to simmer until you’re happy with it, adding any other seasonings you feel are needed to taste.  Serve with rice, tortilla chips, salad, tacos, whatever! The world is your kidney bean. It is fantastic with sweet potato wedges, with lashings of cheese, sour cream and guacamole. 

   

¡Buen provecho!

Sweet Potato Wedges

These are a delicious and nutritious alternative to chips and go really well with anything spicy (they are a delight with chilli con carne) or dishes that don’t really have much in the way of sauce, like baked chicken or salmon.  I know this will seem like a pretty obvious recipe, but they are my go to when I want a substantial veggie accompaniment that’s lighter and tastier than potatoes, and dinner guests have asked for the recipe on a number of occasions.  You may not know that sweet potatoes count as one of your 5-a-day, whereas potatoes don’t, as they apparently don’t contain enough nutrients and vitamins.  By the way, do you guys in the US have the concept of 5-a-day or is it just an NHS thing?  I promise to share a sewing project soon – I have part of it drafted up but the instructions are going to be pretty mammoth!

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You will need (to feed 1):

sweet potato – 1 or 1/2 depending on how big the sweet potato is.  I find the size of these varies tremendously depending on supermarket and crop

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper (optional)

oil for roasting

salt and pepper

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1.  Heat your oven to about 200C.

2.  Chop your sweet potato into wedge-shaped chunks, or cubes, as chunky or narrow as you’d like, bearing in mind that they will shrink with roasting.  When I started making these, I always peeled the sweet potatoes first, but Charles suggested leaving the skins on “because that’s where the nutrients are” (lazy boy) and we tried it.  Now, I leave the skin on every time – it goes chewy and marshmallowy and delicious – plus, no peeling! (Or washing up the peeler…urgh).

3.  Line a baking tray with foil (you may want to fold up the sides if it’s smaller than your tray and add a small glug of oil (sorry, I don’t measure my oil!) onto the foil, and swish it around a bit.  Put it into the oven to get the oil nice and hot  – about 5 mins or so should be fine.

4. Once your oil is nice and hot, remove the tray from the oven and quickly dump in the sweet potato, which should sizzle when it hits the oil.  Be careful here – the oil and tray will be ridiculously hot so please don’t burn yourself.  Toss the wedges in the oil so all sides are covered, with tongs, a fish slice or your hands  (I’m hard like that).

5. Sprinkle on your spices and seasoning and toss again.  Put back in the oven.

6. These take about 30 minutes to cook, depending hot your oven is, but check them after about 20 minutes. When they are looking golden, flip them over and they should only take about another 5 minutes from there.

7. Serve and enjoy!

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