Hope you all had a great weekend. What a miserable day it is here in Spain, perfect though for blogging!! I know a lot of you have had some sunshine this weekend, it is pouring down and stormy here, but it is needed as we haven’t had rain for 2 months!!
Yesterday I made a nice comforting dinner, a Mexican feast, well Tex Mex really. I LOVE Chilli con Carne (chilli with meat), but prefer to eat it with chunks of beef rather than mince. I have made it this way for a few years but yesterday I tried cooking it a different way and I marinated the beef in a chilli paste for a few hours, and it really was good. I always add chocolate into my chilli con carne too, it just gives the dish a deep richness in taste and colour. The history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica which was a region and cultural area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize. Take a look at this link for more info;
Most of the Mexican food we all love is really Tex Mex, the sides I am making are more authentic Mexican. Alongside the chilli, I made Guacamole, this is typically Mexican, when I traveled around Mexico we were often served a bowl of guacamole with nachos as a tapas with our beer! It was first created by the Aztecs in what is now Mexico, the name comes from Aztec dialect and translates to ‘avocado sauce’.
I also made a roasted tomato salsa this was from a recipe I had found years ago, you dry fry the ingredients in a pan, including the tomatoes, then it is all bashed up in a pestle and mortar to create a different tasting salsa, a slight smoky taste. It’s spicy so I also like to add a little bit of mango to give a little cooling sweetness.
Lastly my favourite side…refried beans ( in Spanish ‘frijoles refritos’)!! This is true Mexican and often eaten as the main dish, the word actually means ‘well fried’, it’s now known as a dip or a side dish with your chilli or in burritos. The recipe I use for this is actually a Hairy Bikers recipe, but it has to be the nicest I have eaten. There isn’t anything I could possibly change with the recipe so I don’t mess with it…… it’s simple but tastes amazing.
It is made with pinto beans, which fortunately for me are Spanish so I had no problems getting hold of them here, “Pinto” means “speckled” in Spanish, they are a very pretty looking bean….. I would however love to try this with black beans at some point, they are my favourite bean. The beans are soaked over night then boiled to be tender. You then mash them up and fry them with some of the liquid used when boiling them, to create a creamy mash, you always season these beans once cooked; salt can change the cooking time and can also toughen the beans. I would compare this cooking method to an Indian Dhal the way you boil the lentils then use the liquid to make the dish creamy.
Here it is………………………..
My Ultimate Chilli con Carne
Time cooking 1 1/2 hours, marinade time: overnight/ 2 hours
1 kilo beef meat… brisket/braising/casserole meat…something with some fat content so it can be cooked slowly. Chopped into chunks.
2 cloves garlic grated
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp mustard (I used English)
1 tbsp ground cumin
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 a cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp mixed spice (I used my Aunt homemade spice)
Fresh Thyme leaves and oregano, a handful of both (you can use dried but if you have fresh use it)
1 extra picante dried chilli depending on heat (I used 1 as they are fairly hot and I add more chilli later, you can add two here)
2 sweet and dry peppers (these add a bit of sweetness to the paste)
1 onion diced
2 celery sticks diced finely
1/2 birds eye chillies left whole and pricked with a knife ( I used 2 as I wanted this HOT)
1 garlic clove grated
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tin plum tomatoes
2 tsp brown sugar
water approx 200ml
1 red pepper diced chunky
1 tin red kidney beans drained
20g dark chocolate, I used 70% cocoa
First make your marinade, now it is better to do this the day before and leave overnight, if not make sure you give yourself at least two hours for the meat to marinate.
In a pestle and mortar add in your garlic and salt.
Bash until you create a paste.
You can make the next part in a pestle and mortar but it will take a long time, I scraped this garlic paste into a blender and placed in all the other marinade ingredients apart from the oil.
Blitz up for a few minutes and add oil a little at a time to loosen the mix. You may not need it all, and you may need a little water if you use it all and the mix is still not smooth.
Now coat the meat in this chilli paste, cover with cling film and pop in the fridge to marinate.
Once marinated heat a deep pan and start to brown the beef pieces in batches, no need to add oil there should be enough in the marinade.
Remove the meat with a slotted spoon once browned and set aside in a new bowl, keeping the marinade bowl and remaining scrapings of the chilli paste aside for later in the recipe.
In the same pan add the onions and celery, you can add a little more oil if it is sticking. Cook on a medium heat until soft.
Chuck in the whole chillies and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Now scrape all of the remaining marinade from the bowl and add to pan.
Add the tin tomatoes to the marinade bowl and use the liquid to scrape all the remaining chilli paste juices, mash the tomatoes up a bit too and set aside for a minute.
Add the wine to the pan and cook for a minute to let this reduce a little. Then add in the vinegar, then the tomatoes scraping the bowl as much as you can.
Add in the sugar and stir.
Now pop the beef back into the pan.
Pour the water into both the tomato bowl and beef bowl to get the last remaining juices (I do not like to waste any of it 😉 ) Add this to the pan, you need the liquid to just cover the beef if this water doesn’t then add a little more.
Taste the juice, you may not need to season it more as the marinade had salt in it. I added a little bit of cracked pepper. The colour is fairly pale at the moment and there may be a lot of liquid, don’t worry as it will reduce and become darker. Cover and turn heat to low and let this cook slowly…about 1 hour or until the beef is tender. Stir often during this time.
Once tender add the chocolate cook for 5 minutes uncovered. Stir it and you should see the colour become almost like dark chocolate.
Now add in your peppers and kidney beans. I add the peppers at the end so they have a bite and so you can taste them. We have already flavoured the chilli with the dried sweet peppers.
Cook this for a few more minutes uncovered then turn off and pop the lid on. Set aside until you are ready to eat this.
If you can I would make this ahead as it tastes so much better once it has sat for a few hours, or cook the day before. I left it for 1 1/2 and the meat tasted so much better for letting it rest.
I cannot explain to you how tasty this was, you need to try it for yourself. Its hot but as I have said before this isn’t called meat with chilli is it!! Believe me its hot and spicy but tasty; the flavours and depth in the sauce is not overpowered by the heat….trust me 🙂
Ok onto the sides…..
1 tsp paprika
1 red chilli
approx 8-10 sliced jalapeno peppers
coriander large handful
On a chopping board place two of the avocados cut in half and sprinkle with paprika, the start chopping it together with the tomatoes and the jalapeno. Chop and mix on the board, then add the red chilli.
Squeeze the juice of one lime on and keep chopping.
Blitz up the other avocado up in a blender with the juice from another lime.
Get a bowl and mix the two together. Season well. Then sprinkle in lots of chopped coriander and mix.
Taste, add more lime juice if needed, I ended up using 4 as I like mine to be zingy!
The guacamole with be smooth with some little chunkier bits. It’s totally up to you how smooth you want it.
Roasted Tomato and mango Salsa
1/2 red onion finely diced
1 red chilli
2 cloves garlic
1/2 ripe mango
handful chopped coriander
This is so easy, get a good non-stick frying pan and dry fry the tomatoes chilli and garlic, they will all cook at different times. Once they have softened and blackened remove from the pan. Turn the tomatoes over and over to make sure it all is soft, try to get a good colour to it.
remove the skin from the garlic and the stalk from the chilli and bash together in a pestle and mortar.
Once the tomatoes are black and soft cut off the stalk end and bash with the pestle and mortar mixing it into the garlic/chilli paste. Keep pounding at it so it’s all broken up including the skin.
Empty into a bowl and mix with the onion.
squeeze the juice in from the lime
Chop the mango small and mix in then add the coriander. Mix well and taste. Season well with salt.
250g Pinto Beans
1 Pint water
150g smoked streaky bacon
1 onion finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
Soak the beans overnight in water only. If like me you forget to do this the night before there is a quick soak method….
Place the beans in a pan with ratio 1 cup beans to 2 cups water (I just made sure they were covered) Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and set aside for 2 hours.
Once soaked, empty the water away. Add the pint of water to the beans and bring to a boil, cook until tender. Do not add salt, we add this later.
Heat the oil and butter in a pan and gently cook the onions until soft then add in the bacon and cook until cooked and crispy.
Once the beans are tender, drain them but reserve the liquid DO NOT THROW THIS THICK BROWN WATER AWAY!!
Mash the beans or blitz in a blender.
Then add them to the onion mix and fry, add some of the thick brown water you set aside until the whole dish becomes creamy. You might not need all of this reserved water. If making in advance make sure you keep some of this liquid aside as its good to pour in when re-heating the beans.
Once it has a creamy texture season well with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve ❤ ❤
That’s it!! I served it all up with some plain steamed rice and nachos, and a little grated cheese for the top of the chilli 🙂
Enjoy, and please let me know what you think…..
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