Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lorraine Pascale's recipe for chilli con carne

As mentioned previously, I'm a recent convert to Lorraine Pascale's cooking. I've made several recipes from her Home Cooking Made Easy book and they've all been successful, which means I keep going back for more.

I recently tried out her recipe for chilli, a dish that most people seem to have a favourite recipe for, but one that I'd struggled with. Whenever I made chilli it either tasted really bland or like minced beef with a load of chilli powder in it.

Lorraine Pascale's recipe was a revelation. It tastes fantastic, just spicy enough but with a lovely deep flavour to it. I've cooked it a couple of times now and it's become a firm favourite with my daughters.

ingredients for chilli con carne

Oil for cooking
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tsp soft light brown sugar
1 bay leaf*
1 tsp dried oregano (didn't have any, so I used dried thyme)
1 tsp paprika or cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder (or to taste, I add two)
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 red chilli deseeded and finely chopped (optional)*
500g minced beef
1 small glug of good red wine (optional)*
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
Big glug of Worcestershire sauce
1 x 400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and ground black pepper

*I didn't add these ingredients because I didn't have them on this occasion, chilli still tasted great though!

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until it's nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, then stir in the sugar, bay leaf, oregano, paprika or cayenne, cumin, chilli powder, red pepper, chilli and minced beef.

Use a wooden spoon to break up any large bits of meat, turn up the heat and keep stirring so it doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan for about 5 minutes. Once the meat has browned add the glug of wine (if using) and boil for 2 minutes to get rid of the strong alcoholic taste.

Now add the tinned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, kidney beans and a good amount of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for an hour or so, stirring from time to time to prevent it sticking to the pan.

Check the mixture after 30 minutes and if most of the liquid has evaporated, add a little water or stock, then stir and leave to simmer and develop all those lovely flavours.

Serve with some white rice or tortilla chips, soured cream, guacamole and salsa. Enjoy!

P.S.  I was recently shopping for ingredients for another of Lorraine's recipes and when I couldn't find one of the items on the list I tweeted Lorraine Pascales to ask her, and she replied while I was still in the shop!  How cool is she?!

(Apparently dry sherry is a good alternative.)