As an unabashed carnivore I have always been partial to a good Chilli con Carne. But they are becoming increasingly hard to find in this part of the world. The local high street chains do not cut it anymore and I have had trouble finding one that is not fresh out of a packet.
Rewind back nine years, I was on holiday in Crete, slightly drunk, and we found a fantastic Mexican restaurant. Even in my alcohol-dulled state I could tell the taste of the chilli was just fantastic. Naturally it made my nose run and face pour with sweat, but the quality was just unbeatable.
The secret of a good chilli, in my opinion at least, is to use shredded beef brisket. I have officially given up on mince. It just lacks the raw, meaty flavour.
So, to serve two people, the full list of ingredients are as follows:
- one white onion, finely diced
- one punnet of closed cap mushrooms, finely sliced
- one red and one green pepper, diced
- one tin of chopped tomatoes
- one and a half kilo of beef brisket
- four whole chillies, finely chopped (a word of warning about that later)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco sauce
- barbecue sauce
- juice from the shredded beef (filtered)
- white rice (two cups)
- chilli chocolate (optional)
- red kidney beans
Dice your onion, mushrooms and peppers. Put a large wok or deep based pan on a low heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and allow it to heat. Fry the onion, mushrooms and peppers until softened.
Add the shredded beef and stir in well. Use a sieve to filter the juices out of the stock pot, and add them to the wok. Stir in well. Throw the contents left in the sieve away.
Add a whole tin of chopped tomatoes, one small glass of red wine and a teaspoon of tabasco sauce (or whatever you prefer) and one large tablespoon of barbecue sauce. (Home made is always the best). Open and drain a tin of kidney beans.
Add half a tin to the pan. Now add half a tablespoon of Tabasco sauce.
Did you get given any chilli chocolate for Christmas? If so, I bet you still have not touched it. But here’s the thing: It can be added to a chilli to add richness to the sauce. Yes, really. I use about two or three chunks.
Season with salt, pepper, and any herbs or spices that you see fit. Chilli flakes, of course. Oregano or finely ground mustard seeds work well. If you have any other ideas, let me know.
Allow the chilli to simmer and reduce for a good half hour.
Transfer the chilli to two medium sized ovenware dishes. Fill them and place in a preheated oven for five minutes. Then remove them, top them with grated cheddar cheese one end, and sliced green chillies on the other end. Put them back in the oven until the cheese melts.
Boil two cups of rice in a pan until soft enough to eat. Drain them and add to a mixing bowl with the other half of the tin of kidney beans. Once they are mixed take a small plastic mould, pack the rice and beans firmly into the mould.
Now, very carefully, hold a plate upside down over the mould. With a firm grip on both, flip them over and carefully remove the mould so you have a perfect timbale of rice and beans on the plate. Remove the chilli from the oven using oven gloves, as always, Carefully place the chilli on the plate and serve.
As an optional extra I would recommend sour cream, salsa sauce and nachos.
And that, ladies and gents, is your Rufus Valdez Chilli con Carne, or at least my interpretation of it.