Monday, November 2, 2009

Chilli for Halloween (or anytime)

This weekend was Halloween. We had a party around the outside fire and for me it was the perfect occasion to serve chilli. Although any time you want to feed large numbers, without having too much hassle, chilli is the way to go and a meal in a bowl is very easy to handle when not sitting at a table.

My recipe is very, very straightforward but it does need about 2 hours cooking time. Therefore I suggest you make the chilli in advance of when you want to serve it so at supper time it is merely cooking the rice and preparing the side dishes.

This chilli freezes very well so I think it is a good idea to make more than you need then bagging up the extra and freezing it.

You can also use this sauce in tacos shells and topped with cheese, lettuce etc.

This recipe makes a mild chilli but one with great flavour. Everybody loves it as it is, but if you want to give it a kick- increase the amount of chilli powder or add a hot fresh chilli ( chopped finely).

Serve this with rice.

For 6 people:

1 kg (2 lbs) best quality mince beef
3 tablespoons corn oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 onion- chopped
2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn dried oregano
Tinned tomatoes 475 grams ( 1 lb)
1 1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1 tbspn of sugar
Red kidney beans - 475g

salt & pepper to taste

For garnish- lime wedges, sour cream, grated cheese, fresh coriander and maybe chopped avocado

two and a half hours before you want to be finished cooking

Heat 2 tbspns of corn oil in a casserole or large saucepan on the stove top. Add garlic, onion, chilli powder, cumin and oregano and cook on a moderate heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining oil. Turn the heat up and brown the meat all over.

Browning meat is achieved by having the oil hot and stirring, or turning in the meat in the hot oil until it changes colour and starts to go from grey to brown.

If necessary do this in batches, removing the already browned meat onto a plate which you do the rest.

Put all the meat back into the saucepan/casserole and stir in the tomatoes, stock, tomato puree, bacon and sugar.

Bring to a simmer over a low heat.

Simmering is when the sauce is blobbing along gently with a few bubbles breaking the surface.

Simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. The idea is for the sauce to thicken however if this happens before the end of the cooking time pop a lid on the pot. If the sauce starts to look too thick and drying out add a tiny amount of water or tomato juice if you have any to hand.

At the end of the cooking time stir in the strained beans and season with pepper & salt to your taste.

if you have cooked this in advance:

three quarters of an hour before eating:

Reheat the chilli, over a medium heat- do this fairly slowly maybe giving it a bit of a stir in case it sticks to the saucepan. Once it come to the boil turn the heat to the absolute minimum to keep warm. Stir it occasionally.

Cook the rice as per instructions.

While the rice cooks prepare the whatever garnishes you like- sour cream, lime, coriander, avocado, grated cheese.

If you have a large number get everyone to help themselves- taking whatever garnish suits them.

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