…..me! This past weekend, the Mucky Pup Pub in Islington was host to the first ever Tipped chilli cook-off – 8 chillis went head to head in a blind tasting and miraculously, my chilli won! It was a tough call though – there was some serious competition in there – number four, damn, you were tasty.
The chilli wasn’t the only heat that pup was packin though, we enjoyed nachos, salsa and guac from Mucho Mas, some awesome tuneage and, last but by no means least, the Sarah Palin Pinata (above). Boy, did she take a hammering…and after that, well, I couldn’t possibly reveal her sticky end….
What I will reveal however, is my chilli recipe. The quantities below will serve about 8-10 on my reckoning. There are a couple of things I do which I think makes the chilli extra delish. Firstly, I use two scotch bonnet chillies, which I roast first (with the garlic), to mellow out the heat and intensify the sweet, fruity flavour. I also always make sure to use dried kidney beans rather than tinned for their superior bite and I add some dark chocolate at the end of cooking, to give the chilli depth and a touch of sweetness.
Chilli Con Carne
1200g stewing beef, cut into bite size chunks
1 whole bulb of garlic
2 extra large scotch bonnet chillies
2 onions, diced
1 handful coriander leaves
100ml beef stock
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 heaped tablespoon tomato puree
3 tins cherry tomatoes in their juice
2 romero peppers, diced
400g kidney beans, soaked overnight and cooked
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
A splash of red wine
A teaspoon or two of red wine vinegar
50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
– Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Remove the outer papery layers from the garlic bulb (leaving the cloves intact and the bulb together) and cut the top 1/2cm from the top of the bulb. Put the garlic and chillies in a small roasting dish, drizzle with oil and cover with foil. Roast for about half an hour until the garlic is soft. Remove from the oven and tease the garlic cloves from their cases and scrape the seeds and skin from the chillies, set both aside.
– Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat for a minute or so until they start to smell aromatic (keep giving the pan a shimmy so they don’t burn). Remove to a pestle and mortar (or grinder) and grind to a powder.
– Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil (I like groundnut) in a large cooking pot, brown the meat in small batches and set aside.
– Heat a couple more tablespoons of oil in the pot and add the onions on a medium heat until soft and opaque before adding the peppers for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chilli, cumin, coriander (seed) and oregano, stir for a couple of minutes and then add a good splash of red wine and allow the alcohol to burn off.
– Return the meat to the pan together with the beef stock, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, cinnamon stick and bay leaf and simmer for 2 hours or more on a really low heat (lid on) before adding the vinegar, dark chocolate and fresh coriander. The chilli is best eaten the day after you make it, with a touch more fresh coriander to finish.