Proper Chilli

I had a recipe years ago, on a scratty bit of paper. An award-winning chilli cook-off recipe, from somewhere in Texas. The bit of paper is long gone, but Heston reminded me of how much fun it was to make, and I started again from basic principles. As follows.

Day 1, Pan 1

  • 4 rashers of pork belly, about half a kilo
  • Splash of sunflower or other light oil
  • 3 teaspoons chipotle paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 x 275 ml bottle lager beer

Fry the pork in the oil in an oven-proof casserole, top with the other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for at least 2 hours in a low oven, Gas Mark 2-3. Or longer if possible. Allow to cool.

Day 1, Pan 2

  • 1 onion
  • Splash of light oil
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 green chilli
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 500 gms beef mince (quite fatty)
  • 2 tsps oregano
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 2 handfuls chopped coriander stalks
  • 1 tsp ground ancho chilli
  • 1 tbsps tomato puree
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 mug good concentrated beef stock
  • 1 tsp Splenda or sugar

Fry the onion, chilli and garlic in the oil. When everything's softened and starting to brown a little bit at the edges, add the mince. Sprinkle the spices and herbs on top of the slab of mince, and mix it all together, cutting and stirring until the meat is well-seasoned and brown. Add the puree, tomatoes, stock and sweetener. Cover and simmer very slowly for about 3 hours, adding water if necessary. It shouldn't be dry at this stage. Cool in the pan overnight.

Day 2 (or 3)

Take the meat out of the jelly in pan 1 and cut it into small pieces. Some will just fall into shreds, that's fine. Tip the whole lot, meat, jelly and fat into pan 2. Heat very slowly and mix together. Simmer gently for 2 – 3 hours, After about an hour, add 4 fresh tomatoes chopped up. The longer you cook it, the drier and milder it will get.

Serve with whatever you like – we had sour cream, avocado chunks, chopped fresh tomato, chopped fresh coriander, refried beans and savoury cornbread. You could have rice, tortillas, nachos, cheese, guacamole.

You can add beans to the chilli if you want, but it will seriously mess with the seasonings. This is a very mild chilli anyway, if you want it hotter, don't cook it for so long, use more raw chillis at the beginning, or add your favourite ground chilli with the ancho – something a lot hotter. I like the smoky taste, I would put in maybe crunched up smoked hot chillis.

It was enough for a good-sized dinner portion for 2, a couple of lunch portions cold, and a couple of dinners in the freezer. With side dishes, it would easily feed 6 – 8 for a dinner, it's very rich.

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8 Responses to “Proper Chilli”

  1. Johnny Fucking Canuck Says:

    Splenda? Splenda??? Say it ain't so!Try a little molasses. Or even a bit of peanut butter (which is fantastic for those times where you need to tame the heat if you overdo it by accident).Unless you're allergic, of course. 🙂

  2. Sofa Says:

    Splenda's just a habit, really … we're both diabetics so I always have it to hand. You're right though, a darker sugar would be better. I hadn't heard the peanut butter trick before, the standard thing to do here in the UK (which we've learned from all these centuries of eating curry) is to have a yoghourt dish on the side, or something else with dairy fat to soothe the mouth and absorb the heat – sour cream and cheese work well.

  3. 60bunnies Says:

    Please stop using animal products in your diet. They are given antibiotics, growth, and anti-growth hormones, steroids, and kept in filthy (containing their own feces, and urine) conditions, and what goes into their flesh, becomes a part of your flesh, if you consume them. Believe me, "factory farming" can cause cancer in humans. And becoming a vegetarian, isn't that hard. It is not like it was, back when God's creatures were treated, and fed in a humane way. Now it's VERY differt, and you don't believe me, check out,,, and…

  4. Sofa Says:

    I'm so sorry that you live in a society where this still happens as a matter of course. Luckily here it is easy to find organic quality meat that has lived a clean, happy life, often locally. I'm not saying there aren't still battery farms, because there will always be people who will put the convenience of KFC and their like before good taste and nutrition, but there is a growing awareness of what that means for us all.

  5. 60bunnies Says:

    i used to go to kfc, but no longer…i've seen how they treat chickens…debeak them toss them into walls, walk on them, and then try to kill them….even pilgrim's pride has done the same to chickens…i've recently seen ads from tyson chickens in arkansas,that they don't give them chemicals, or antibiotics, and yeah, like i believe them at all…just try goint vegatarinan…i know that paul mccartney, and his daugter stella, even albert einstein, believed the world would be a better place if we were all vegetarians….i've been a meat eater most of my life, but i've recently visited my rabbit websites, and the abuse that even bunnies are given, makes me nauseated!!

  6. Sofa Says:

    If you read my reply to you, you would realise that I don't like KFC for the same reasons you do. I also happen to live in a country where informed consumers and committed suppliers are making significant changes to the food supply chain, changes which are well documented, monitored, and in many cases open to the public. I was a vegetarian for many years, but as I read more about the economics of sustainable farming in this country I realised that it wasn't necessary, or indeed sensible. I also see no reason to base my eating habits on the beliefs of a 60s hippie, any more than I follow the example of Adolf Hitler.

  7. 60bunnies Says:

    i was never a hippie, flower-power kind of person, and hate what hitler did to anyone!!…he was an evil person…i always thought "hippies" were stupid people…none of what they said or did ever made any sense to me…at least you and i can agree to disagree

  8. caprandom Says:

    Just came across this but I couldn't help by saying "Good recipe". About the peanut butter, I suppose it not too different from what we see in Thai and Indonesian cuisine (especially in satays).

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