It is that time of year when it is cold outside (in the Northern Hemisphere) and there are major sporting events in the air, such as the Super Bowl, the Six Nations, the Cricket world cup and others. It is a time when friends gather to watch these events and you need warming, solid food that can cope with hungry people and perhaps even dealing the after effects of alcohol consumption.
I started to make this dish for Super Bowl parties and then ended up doing it for when I had other groups of my male friends around. I call it the Cheat’s Chilli, firstly because a Texan friend reprimanded me (amongst other complaints) about using mince instead proper beef, and secondly as it is very easy to make. It is one pot cooking from ingredients that you can get at even the smallest supermarket, so you can make it in a hurry if needs be.
The recipe should make enough for 4-6 hungry men, I have also doubled it for larger groups, but you will need a bigger pot.
750g of Good Beef Mince
2 large Onions (red or white)
2 Chillies preferably red
2 Red Peppers
1 tin (440g) Red Kidney Beans
1 large jar (750g) of Bolognese Pasta Sauce (it is a Cheat’s Chilli) or 2 tins chopped tomatoes
4-6 cloves of Garlic
Salt & Pepper
Brown or HP Sauce
2 Limes (Zest one Lime)
Suited Chef’s Flourishes
A Deli Sausage Ring – could be Chorizo, Kabanos, Saucisson or similar, about 250g
Good Quality Spanish Paprika such as La Chinata
Sherry or Red Wine
Preparation first – dice the onions and the garlic. Chop up the red pepper into thumbnail size pieces. Chop the chillies – if you want it spicy, chop them whole, but if just want a bit of flavour then de-seed and de-pith (the white stringy bit on the inside of a pepper or chilli). Drain the kidney beans and put to one side. Here we go, get a large pot, you will need one, and put it on a medium heat.
Suited Chef tip – I use Le Creuset pots as they are great for this type of cooking and though they are costly, they last for aeons. I use my mother’s pots, which have been in use for almost 50 years and still going strong!
Add about 50g of salted butter and a splash of oil, use rapeseed or vegetable to stop the butter from burning. Then, when the butter is melting, add in the chopped garlic and chilli and about a teaspoon of cumin seeds, stir for a minute then add the diced onions. Soften the onions till they start to go clear, then, if you want to a Suited Chef Flourish, add a hefty glass of red wine or sherry and turn up the heat to burn off the alcohol.
Keep the heat high and add the mince, break it up with your hands as you put it into the pot. Then I add the Worcestershire sauce as the meat gets browned, a good splash of about 2-3 teaspoons.
Once all the meat is no longer pink, add in either the pasta sauce or tins of tomatoes. Stir the mixture together, at this point we add the rest of the spices and herbs. A teaspoon of oregano; a tablespoon of tomato puree; a tablespoon of brown or HP sauce; two teaspoons of paprika (Suited Chef Flourish: if you can get good quality paprika it makes all the difference); the zest of one of the limes and a pinch of cayenne pepper (you can add more, but be careful as this can get too spicy quickly), finally, add salt and pepper.
Stir this all through and let it simmer for up to a minute, then add the other ingredients. Pour in the kidney beans and stir, then add the chopped red peppers, I like to add them now so they retain a bit of crunch. Suited Chef Flourish is to add the sausage, which you have chopped into bite size pieces, it really adds something to the dish.
Stir well then turn down the heat and let it simmer away, stirring occasionally. Let is simmer for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for a hour. About 5 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the lime juice.
It has been said that it is even better the next day, so if you do prepare it the day beforehand, don’t add the lime juice. Store it in the fridge and then re-heat on the stove slowly for about 30 minutes adding the lime juice at the end. Or you can reheat in the oven if you have a dish that can go in the oven.
There are three ways I like to serve this very hearty dish.
- With rice, American long grain is perfect.
- With Tortilla chips, which is perfect for dipping, but make sure your guests have not demolished them before the chilli arrives.
- With warm crusty bread, again great for dipping, or you can serve it South African style as Bunny Chow; inside the bread itself. But Bunny Chow itself is for another day.
But no matter which you chose, it should be served with sour cream, guacamole and grated cheese (my personal favourite is a strong cheddar or gruyere, which can hold it’s own against the chilli)
Enjoy the game, the food and your friends!