The Best Chilli Ever

  • Serves10
  • DifficultyEasy
2 Ancho chilli’s
2 Chipotle chilli’s’ (both of these can be ordered online
300ml strong coffee (I use Vietnamese for the extra chocolaty taste)
2-3 tbsp. rapeseed/olive/coconut oil
1 piece of cinnamon bark or two cinnamon sticks
4 fresh bay leaf (fresh is infinitely better)
5 bruised cardamom
250g diced red onion (1 large or two small)
25g fine diced ginger
2 heaped tsp. cumin
2 heaped tsp. smoked paprika
2 heaped tsp. dried oregano or 5 tsp. fresh
2 large medium heat chilli’s fine dice and seeds out
1kg beef chuck/brisket
Seasoning
2 cans tinned toms
1 heaped dessertspoons of muscovado sugar
2 peppers diced
2 cans black beans or kidney beans

The thing that makes this chilli stand out is the smoky authentic taste and it’s beautifully glistening dark red colour, it’s a showstopper. I have people pleading for the recipe all the time, so this will make a lot of people very happy! It’s very important to use the right chillies, you should be able to buy them from a good deli but if not you can buy in bulk from www.coolchile.co.uk – believe me, you will use them. Secondly you must buy the best quality meat you can find. Buy your meat from a well-known ethical butcher (inevitably the taste is better), whose meat is well hung, this makes a big difference.

This chilli gets better in time, so make it well ahead, or even make and freeze. I make batches of the base veg and freeze it, so that all the time consuming prep is done and I just throw in the meat & tomatoes, cook it out and finish off with beans and peppers.

This chilli is flavoursome and spicy. I wouldn’t throw too much poke in at the beginning, if you like a bit of fire, add some more fresh chilli at the end.

Serve this dish with rice or jacket potato, fresh coriander, cheddar cheese, sour cream and jalapeno peppers.

To start, soak your dried chilli’s in the coffee for at least a couple of hours, you can do this the night before or if you forget, get them in the coffee and on the stove, gently boil them and they’ll soften up. When soft, fish them out, fine dice and keep the coffee to one side.

In a heavy based large pan, gently heat the oil; add the cinnamon, bay leaf and cardamom.

When you can smell the aromas add the red onion, ginger, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, fresh chilli and the re-constituted diced chilli with a little coffee to lubricate. Give this a good stir, turn the heat right down and add some baking paper over the top (a cartouche) and a lid. This bit is very important – by very slowly sweating this base of veg and spices off, you bring out all the lovely flavours and sugars – this provides the base to your chilli. Cook for 10-20 mins, checking occasionally that it’s not catching on the bottom, if it is then your heat is too high.

Meanwhile, heavily season your meat on all sides. Put a heavy based frying pan on the highest heat and get your extraction on or windows open! When the pan is smoking carefully add the meat – do this in two batches as to not over crowd the pan. Keep it on and turn until the meat is well caramelised on all sides. The lovely dark colour will add more flavour to the dish.

When the meat is ready, remove the lid and cartouche and add it to base veg with the rest of the coffee, tinned toms and the muscovado. Stir, replace the cartouche and lid and cook on a very low heat for 3 hours or until the meat is soft and falling apart – if your meat has been well hung, this process will not take as long. Check and stir occasionally.

Once you’re happy with the meat and you have an amazing colour juice and beautiful meaty flavour – chuck in your peppers and beans, check the seasoning, but you shouldn’t have to add anything – simmer for 10-15 mins and the chilli is done!

As Nan would say, “and the best of British luck!”

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