Sunday, 7 October 2012

Smoky Chipotle Chilli

Apparently it's officially Autumn (or Fall, if you're of a North American persuasion), and this makes me quite happy. Don't get me wrong, I love Summer... but we don't get much of one, and I'm tired of keeping up appearances by wearing Summer appropriate clothing (while secretly freezing) and eating 'light Summer food' when all I really want to do is wear comfy boots and pretty scarves, turn the central heating on and eat cosy food.

Chilli is one such cosy dish that I can't wait to make in Autumn. The turning of the leaves makes me think of bonfires, and I love to capture that smoky smell in the Chilli itself. Perfect to warm you up on a crisp fresh day.

You know another thing that's perfect to warm you up on a crisp fresh day? A Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks. Yum. Unlike our American friends, we Brits don't really do much with our pumpkins other than gut them and carve them and scare little children with them. So thank you, America, for sending us your Pumpkin Spiced Latte. It's very much appreciated!

Sorry, back to the Chilli... I know the ingredients list is a bit longer than most of my recipes, but I'm pretty sure that you'll have the vast majority of them in your cupboard already- and if you don't, they're a good starting point for a lot of dishes so it might be worth getting them in anyway! You quite possibly wont have chipotle chilli powder, I know it's not as commonly used, but if you like a deep and smoky flavour I highly recommend it (it's great for a whole host of Mexican dishes). Chipotle chillies are basically jalapenos that have been smoked- they have the most amazing flavour and heat, but without being eye wateringly hot (when used in moderation)! The other ingredient that might make you raise an eyebrow is the cocoa powder- please, please please don't leave it out! Don't worry, it wont make your chilli taste like chocolate or even turn it brown, but it will round out the flavour and give it and the colour a depth like no other. That's a promise

Smokey Chipotle Chilli
Serves 6-8 (it's perfect for freezing)

800g minced beef (about 1.75lbs)
115g smoked bacon (about 0.25lbs)
2 large onions, diced
3 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tins kidney beans
1 red chili, finely chopped
8 tblspns tomato puree
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tblspns cocoa powder
250ml beef stock
4 tblspns olive oil
2 tspns chipotle chili powder
2 tspns ground cumin
2 tspns ground coriander
1 tspn smoked paprika
Salt and Pepper, to season

1) Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft.
2) Add the red chili, garlic, chipotle powder, cumin, coriander, paprika and bacon and stir until well mixed.

3) Break up the mince and add it into the pan, mixing the other ingredients in thoroughly, and cook until browned.

4) Pour in the tinned tomatoes, tomatoe puree and stock and bring to a boil. At this point, add in the cocoa powder.

5) Reduce to a gentle simmer, then add the kidney beans. Loosely cover the pan with a lid (but leave a gap to let the steam escape) and simmer for at least 30 minutes (the longer the better, but just don't let it reduce too much).

Serve over rice, or with a baked potato, or with tortilla chips for dipping, or in a wrap.... the choice is yours. Sour cream and grated cheese make for good toppings too!

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