Saturday, 2 July 2011

Buffalo & Chocolate Chilli

Chilli is one of my husband's favourite dinners and I've made a fair few variations of it in recent years; this is the recipe I've come up with after all those experiments. It can be made with beef, venison, soya or quorn mince, but the absolute best mince for this is buffalo

Although buffalo mince is described as lean, it stays moist and has a great texture. If using buffalo mince you can omit the bacon without disastrous results, if you use anything else I'd strongly recommend frying up a couple of slices of bacon alongside the onions at the start. I didn't have any bacon, so it's a good thing I had buffalo mince.

Fry up a diced onion and some smashed garlic (plus bacon, if using), followed by the mince and while that's browning put together the spice mix. Into a little bowl mix up: 2 tsps of dried oregano, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp hot chilli powder, a large pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp smoked paprika (or ordinary paprika if you've used smoked bacon) and a large pinch of ground cinnamon. You also need a couple of bay leaves.

When the mince is almost completely browned, add the spices and fry for a couple of minutes before adding a squeeze of tomato puree and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Leave to simmer for 5 mins or so, then add a tin of kidney beans. It's worth emptying these into a seive and running under the cold tap before using them; even organic tinned pulses tend to be in a briny, preservative solution that you probably don't want to taste. Pop the lid on and leave to cook for 20 minutes.

After this, take the lid off and add a chopped bell pepper and a peice of 90% cocoa chocolate. You could use 70%, I did before I found the stronger stuff, but do it a little bit at a time and keep tasting - you don't want the chilli to taste of sweet chocolate, it should be just a background hint.

Once that's all melted in, season with plenty of salt, pepper and lemon juice. Finally mix in a load of chopped, fresh coriander.

Ingredients summary: mince of some kind, onion, garlic, bacon (optional), dried oregano, ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, smoked or ordinary paprika, chilli powder, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans, >70% dark chocolate, lemon juice, salt, pepper, fresh coriander.

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