Chili con carne … for me is kind of synonymous for food in huge pots feeding crowds – the classic recipe that was cooked in youth camps, on school trips, big partys.
You only needed one big pot. Everyone could do it (somehow) and you could cook together: someone chopped masses of bell peppers, another one onions until his/her face was covered in tears, someone stir-fried minced beef … and the less talented at least could open the cans of tomatoes and corn (Yes, this kind of chili has to contain canned corn!). And then all you needed was a bit of patience and some bread for serving.
Now this winter chili – adapted from Jamie Olivers “Comfort Food” – belongs to another league. But the essentials are the same: a one-pot-wonder that is meant to be cooked in big batches.
And what is more enjoyable on a chilly winter evening than a warming spicy stew? This rustic winter version carries the idea of roasted and smoked flavours to extremes: nearly all ingredients are roasted seperately – worth the time! Fennel and coriander seeds add warmth to the dish, porcini give it a umami kick and smoked paprika powder … oh I love the smoky aroma that it adds to dishes! … I didn’t stop here and seasoned the chili also with espresso – a good idea if you can’t get enough of roasted flavours!
Let’s speak about further alterations I made:
Besides the fact that I halfened the recipe, I left out the pork belly that Jamie uses together with brisket. I’m not especially fond of pork and also didn’t want my chili to be too fatty – so I used solely beef shoulder, which my butcher already cut into chunks … while Jamie roasts and cooks his meat as a whole piece. Due to this alteration I reduced the cooking time in the oven from 5 to 3 hours. Still a lot of time for flavours to develop and intermingle. After 3 hours the meat is super soft and you can break the chunk of meat up a little bit more
A tart and fresh salsa that Jamie serves on top adds the finishing touch to this chili, perfect to tuck into on a grey and chilly winter evening.
Winter chili con carne (6 p.)
[adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “Comfort Food”]
10 g dried porcini, 500 g hokkaido pumpkin, 1 kg beef shoulder (cut into chunks), 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika powder, 1 onion, 1 teaspoon sugar, 70 ml balsamico vinegar, 1 can kidney beans (400 g), 1 can chopped tomatoes (400 g), 1 espresso, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 chili pepper, ½ bunch coriander, salt, pepper, olive oil
½ onion, 1 apple, 1 tablspoon white balsamico vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil
[optional: yoghurt for serving]
Preheat oven to 190°C. Pop the mushrooms into a small bowl and just cover with boiling water. Bash the fennel and coriander seeds, paprika and ½ teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper in a pestle and mortar. Wash and deseed pumpkin and cut into chunks. Toss with half the spice mixture and a drizzle of olive oil on a baking tray. Roast for 50 minutes, or until golden, then remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150°C.
Meanwhile, drizzle pieces of beef with olive oil and rub with the remaining spice mixture. Heat olive oil in a large casserole and brown on all sides. Remove meat to a plate.
Peel and roughly chop the onions. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and sugar to the casserole and fry for 10 minutes, stirring regularly until lightly caramelised. Add the balsamic vinegar and most of the mushroom liquid (leave the sandy last sip in the bowl). Roughly chop and add the mushrooms, followed by the beans with liquid, the tomatoes and the espresso. Add beef to the casserole again.
Bring to the boil, season and seal with a watered sheet of baking paper. Cover casserole with lid (or tin foil) and cook in the oven for around 3 hours.
Roast peppers until black – either on a barbecue pan or in the oven. Place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to cool, then peel and deseed them. Roughly chop with half the coriander, and toss with a little salt and pepper. When the meat is tender, remove from the oven, carefully break up the meat a bit more, then stir in the pumpkin, peppers and chili. Adjust the consistency with water if needed, taste and season to perfection, then keep warm.
To finish, peel the onion, core apples and chop both together with the remaining coriander. Dress with the vinegar and oil and season to taste. Serve the chilli with the salsa, bread and a dollop of yoghurt.
Like all stews, this chili con carne is a perfect for reheating the other day, but also for freezing and defrosting when you just need a quick portion of coziness.