Charlie con Carne

The All Star Lanes Chill Cook Off press release was passed on to me via a colleague. Upon requesting some information or even an application form I was slammed on the list and I was almost entered by accident. It was a long way off so I put it to the back of my mind.

Suddenly remembering last Thursday that ‘game on’ in a week I got to work and knocked off a couple of practice rounds with a willing guinea at my side, Friday bowels flicked us the finger, still worth it I think.

Aided by the chilli genius of I put together a ‘seasoning’ mix. This is an ideal way to build a personal chilli recipe that can be added to an adapted as time goes on.

Mine includes:

Heap of dried Cumin a mound of dried Coriander, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, the same of paprika, splurge of cayenne pepper, large pinch of dried oregano, salt and pepper.

Be sure to mix it up stick it in a jar for a few days so that it relaxes and melds into a more homogeneous mix of spices rather than an angry hot bed of powdered bandits. Also make sure you make lots and add to it next time with more of what you like.

The biggest decision I had to make was what meat. Britons usually read chilli meat as ‘standard supermarket mince’, but upon closer inspection the discussion goes deep. I opted for braising steak for a more silky, less grainy texture. Actually chilli is such an age old recipe and there are so many variations, opinions, lore and even superstition why cant I just screw about a bit and use what I have close by and can get cheap.

I wanted to include chipotle chilli’s to add the smoky dimension but time was tight, so as a potentially blasphemous ruse I bought the finest chorizo I could get my hands on and added that to the mix. As far as chillies themselves were concerned I picked up a bunch of heart pumpingly hot Scotch bonnets and some more mild long sweet green chillies the type that often accompany your doner kebab.

The method (based on one kilo of meat):

Brown bite sized chunks of the steak and set aside, deglaze pan with red wine (pour over meat) fry two onions till golden, chuck in the cubed chorizo for three minutes, add about a tablespoon and a half of the seasoning, whatever chillies your using, don’t be shy - it will lose potency as time goes on. Add half a head of minced garlic and let the mixture bubble and fill the house with an eye watering, sweet and poky smell. Keep deglazing with rouge if the seasoning sticks. Add the meat after a few minutes along with two cans of chopped tomatoes and enough beef stock to cover the meat well. Let it bubble well for an hour then reduce it to low for four hours adding stock if it get too dry. When the meat is super tender stick in your beans and leave the wonder batch till tomorrow.

When ready to serve heat slowly, stir in a knob of salty butter to give it a slinky sheen. Loads of freshly chopped coriander and season. Serve it up with rice or over nachos grilled with some cheese on top and so on. I actually tried it cold in a baguette with some yogurt and cucumber, not bad...

(The esteemed panel)

The event itself was great, I met a load of passionate seasoned chilli gurus and had the fortune to win the peoples choice chilli and came third in the judges choice. Thanks everyone for the votes of confidence.

(hungry tasters)

Click Here for the Londonist review of the Chilli Cook-off 2009


Fat Les said...

This post is a wonderful read given the general disquiet within the foodie blogosphere. Well done with the peeps' choice accolade; that in itself is hardly token.

Lizzie said...

Good .

I keep meaning to use scotch bonnets but then chicken out at the last moment. I quite like to use a bottle of corona in place of the vin rouge.

MsMarmitelover said...

Nice one Charlie.
I used Mayan Gold chocolate and chipotles. Scotch bonnet, ouch!
Did you wear gloves?

Sophie Goodwin said...

mmmmn, that sounds like it tasted amazing!