It was one of those days... cold, miserable and I was a little out of sorts. I wanted some comfort food and I fancied a 'chili-like'* meal. Trawling through the many recipes online I noted than some featured coffee, chocolate and stout, so the idea of cooking with a beer that already possesses those flavours was hardly a huge leap in the culinary thought process.
O'Hara's Leann Follain is a local stout so it made sense to use it, not to mention the fact that it's a particular favourite of mine. As for the rest of the ingredients, well the beef is from our local craft butcher but most of the other additions were leftover items from the fridge combined with a few cupboard staples.
And that's the secret of this kind of recipe. Pick a style - I wanted something smoky, peppery and chocolaty - and build around it with ingredients that compliment or perhaps even contast with one another. Not to mention the need to use up those left over bits and pieces so they don't go to waste.
And like and good chili - or curry - it tastes better the next day!
Anyway, here's the recipe so adapt and enjoy.
1 tsp Mustard Oil
1 bottle O'Hara's Leann Follain Stout
1 kg Minced Beef
1 cup Smoked Bacon - chopped
1/2 cup Chorizo - chopped
2 cups Meat Stock
1 Large Onion - finely chopped
1 cup Sweet Red Peppers - chopped
3 Garlic Cloves
1 whole Red Chili Pepper
1 whole Habanero Chili
1 tin of Tomatoes
1 tin of Kidney Beans
1 tin of Butter Beans
4 dashes of Smoked Chipotle Sauce
1 tbsp whole Coriander
1 tsp whole Cumin
2 tsp whole Mustard
1 tsp Oregano
3 tsp Smoked Paprika
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Chili Powder (Optional)
1 tsp Black Pepper
Salt to taste
Plus leaf coriander and grated cheese when serving.
Toast the whole spices in a dry pan until the mustard starts to pop. You might want to cover them with a saucepan lid to avoid mustard-seed-eyeball!
Blend the tinned tomatoes, toasted seeds, oregano, garlic cloves, smoked paprika, red chili pepper, black pepper, chipotle sauce and chili powder (if using) to a fine paste and leave to one side.
Brown the beef with the mustard oil in a large saucepan, remove and set aside.
Cook onions, bacon and chorizo in the same saucepan until the bacon starts to brown and sizzle.
Add the beef back in to the pan along with the spiced tomato paste, stock and bay leaf.
Stir and add in the stout!
Simmer uncovered for about an hour until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
Add the beans, sweet red pepper and habanero chili. Cook with the lid on for a further half an hour.
Taste and add more chili powder or chipotle sauce if you want it hotter. Or a little brown sugar or plain old tomato ketchup if you want it sweeter. Remove the habanero before serving.
Sprinkle with grated cheese and coriander, then serve with roast potatoes and a beer.
* OK, so the reason I have the word chili in parenthesis is because I don't want all the pedants telling me that it's not a real chili as it has this, that and the other in it. You're probably right, but I couldn't think of another word that encompasses the style of dish so live with it!