It's been really cold this week, even a little snow yesterday (no way was it the worst in 10 years, at least, not in London), and I've developed a nasty cold. So as a result, something nice and spicy to clear up the sinuses was required. Chili was one of the first things I learnt to cook on an Aga, at the time, utilising a recipe from the "Good Housekeeping" Aga Cookbook (well, the previous edition, anyway). Back then, I didn't tend to mess around much with recipes as I didn't really have the confidence to experiment with slight variations. But, since then, having to cook it in various people's houses with different cooking resources and ingredients available, I have developed my recipe a little more. The most important thing for this one was that it was hot, but not so that it was inedible, but also to include an idea or two from my good friend, Brett's, recipe. I lived with Brett for a few years, and his cooking was always great, so well worth stealing ideas from.
Recipe for Chilli Con Carne (serves 4)
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 454g/1lb Lean Minced Beef
- 1 Large Onion, chopped
- 1 Small Red Onion, chopped
- 2 Ribs of Celery
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
- 3 Hot Chillies (Red, Green or both)
- 1 Green Pepper, chopped
- 1 Yellow Pepper, chopped (optional, but added for a little more colour)
- 2 tablespoons Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 2 Beef Stock Cubes
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons Concentrated Tomato Puree
- 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 cup of Water
- 2 Bay Leaves
- A piece or two of Cassia Bark
- 1-2 tins Kidney Beans (depending on how many beans you like in it)
- 2 chunks of Lindt 70% Cocoa (or higher) Chocolate
At this point, you should taste it and decide whether you want to add more Cayenne Pepper, Hot Chilli Powder or Cumin. Personally, I find the stock cubes can add enough salt, but add more at this point if there is not enough for you.
Simmer for a further 30 minutes, then remove the Cassia Bark and Bay Leaves and add the kidney beans. These days, I try and have 2 tins of Kidney Beans to hand when cooking Chilli, although not everyone likes to have lots of them, but I tend to judge whether the second tin is needed based on what it looks like once I've added the first. At this point, you should stir in the Chocolate until it is melted and mixed in, and then simmer for a further 30 minutes.
During cooking, add some of the water if it is drying out too much or if it begins to stick to the bottom on the pan.
I always tend to serve the Chilli with Basmati Rice on the day I make it, but I'm usually hoping that there is enough leftovers to have on a Jacket Potato the following day.