Thursday, 9 June 2011

Chocolate Chilli Con Carne

There's something comforting about anything with beans or with mince, so when the two come together along with some chilli it really makes my tummy happy. This is usually something I'd cook in winter, but I needed some hearty revision food and this really filled a hole.

The good thing about chilli is that you can get a lot of mince (good quality lean mince though, as fatty cheap mince is just tasteless and greasy), and make a big batch to freeze. This means a freezer full of scrummy home-made ready meals. Adding beans to anything with meat not only gets in more fibre and healthy stuff, but also cuts down the cost as pulses really bulk things up. Sometimes I like to add a handful of red lentils as well as the kidney beans, or even a tin of baked beans... useful tips if extra unexpected people turn up for dinner and you have to stretch things that bit further.

I can't decide my favourite way to eat chilli. Whether it is heaped on top of nachos and covered with cheese, dolloped on a baked potato, served next to a steaming pile of rice or simply in a bowl with a crusty baguette to mop up all the juices.

I think the dark chocolate in the recipe really makes it taste special, but even without the chocolate the chilli is good. Please don't waste your money buying expensive chilli-con-carne spice mix packets though, as the flavour is so easy to achieve with some basic spices you should have at home anyway.

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)
500g lean beef mince
1/2 an onion
Tin of red kidney beans (in water or spicy sauce, your choice)
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Clove of garlic
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
Ground cumin
Ground corriander
Fresh or dried chillis
Dark chocolate (4-6 big squares)
Vegetable oil
Salt (or a blob of bovril)

How to...
1. Finely chop onions and garlic, soften in a pan for 5 mins with the vegetable oil.
2. Chop peppers into little cubes and add to frying pan. Cook for another 5 minutes or so.

3. Add mince to pan along with as much chilli as you want, a teaspoon or 2 of cumin and a teaspoon or 2 of ground coriander. Remember you can have this as spiced as you want, I tend to put in about a tablespoon of cumin and half as much coriander.
4. Add tin of chopped tomatoes and kidney beans once the mince is browned. Season with salt or a spoon of bovril if you fancy adding a bit of extra beefyness. Cook for 15ish minutes.
5. Add chocolate and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
6. Serve with rice, a jacket potato, crusty bread or on nachos... with or without a dollop of sour cream on top.

Whilst cooking I was listening to... The Bird and The Worm by Owl City

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