Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Can you keep a secret? The Boy's Chilli Con Carne

Everyone needs a secret ingredient, a recipe passed down from great great grandmothers or at least something that when cooked and friends 'ooh' and 'ahh' over it and ask what it is that makes it so goooooood you just smile sagely, rub your chin (a beard would help at this moment) and say 'ah that'd be my secret ingredient'.

Everyone has one: Coca Cola, Irn Bru, erm, other people who aren't soft drink companies. I've read many a chef admit their secret ingredient is often ketchup (a damn fine addition to any curry). So if you don't have one, get one. Or at least add a quick dash of something to pretend you do.

The Boy likes to thing his chilli has many, it definitely has many ingredients, often ever evolving, and it does taste damn good. But I've always been rubbish at keeping a secret. So here goes...

Chilli al Pedros
1 packet of mince
1 can canned tomatoes
1 onion
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch coriander seeds
Pinch cumin seeds
Crushed dried chilli
2 cloved of garlic
Grating of nutmeg
About 1 tbsp tomato puree
1 chopped fresh chilli
1 red pepper
Handful of mushrooms
1 beef stock cube
1 can kidney beans
Grating of dark chocolate

So ok, it's not just one secret ingredient but an ever evolving motley crew of them: the spice belnd, the dark chocolate, the beer, the cinnamon and nutmeg... you never know what he's going to add next. But come or go, whatever it includes it tastes good, and hot.

Kick it off in classic style by frying up the beef mince and garlic. Once it's cooked, put aside and add some tomato puree and mix it up.

Now fry up the onion, red pepper and mushrooms.

Add back the browned mince and the chopped fresh chilli and crack on with the sauce. Bash up the fresh spices with a pestle and mortar or handy Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker (I admit I'm usually the first person to be skeptical about celebrity chef endorsed kitchen gadgets but this one is a winner, so much easier than grinding away with that pestle). Add the can of chopped tomatoes, beef stock (to reduce simmering time just make it up with enough water to dissolve it) and a good few manly glugs of beer. Turn the heat down to a simmer stir in your spices and add the cinnamon stick.

Simmer for as long as you need to get the right consistency, but at least 15 minutes. Once it is almost there add the drained kidney beans. Right before you serve grate in some dark chocolate and whole nutmeg and serve.

Rice, nachos, sour cream, some great homemade guacamole or salsa. However you do it, just remember, never reveal your secret...

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