Some Like it Hot!

I’m back home in Norfolk this weekend and it’s been bliss. The fire has been roaring, the dog snoring and I’ve finally got over my cold thanks to an endless supply of steaming mugs of Dad’s world famous hot toddies.

Feeling fully revived I decided it was time to give up my sloth impression and emerge from under my fleecy blanket for a trip to the beach. Having grown up by the coast I can’t ever go home without a trip to see the sea. As much as I love the beach in the summer when the sun is shining, I like it even more in the winter. There’s something about wrapping myself in multiple layers and walking along the deserted beach, taking in the huge expanse of the shore that resets the dials of my life and gives me a huge sense of calm unlike anything else. I just love it.


Anyway, knowing when we came home from a long walk on the blustery beach we’d be in need of something hearty I offered to cook. If there’s one dish that’s guranteed to warm one up after a stomp in the cold, it’s my Chilli. I mean, is there anything more satisfying or comforting than a bowl of chilli, topped with melting cheese and zingy guacamole?

Everyone has their own take on Chilli with people liking different cuts of meat, varying levels of spice, thicker or thinner sauces etc but this recipe has been a staple in our house since time began. Mama H taught me how to make this back my school days and I’ve been knocking it up ever since.

I call it my lazy Chili because it’s a dish you can throw in the oven during the day, go off and do your own thing for a bit (I recommend a beach walk), come back a few hours later and serve up.

So, this is what you need…

  • 500g of beef mince (the best quality and the lowest fat content available)
  • A glug of olive oil
  • 1 x red onion
  • 1 x clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp dried chillies
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 100g of tomato puree
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x tin of kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp of grated dark chocolate or cocoa poweder
  • 1 x glass of red wine (Mama H says this is optional, I don’t)
  • Pinch of salt

Oh and you will need a good casserole dish with a lid.

Gather all your ingredients. Pop your oven onto gas mark 3 / 150c / 300F and let’s get going.

Put your pot onto a medium heat on the hob and add a splash of olive oil.

Finely chop your onion and crush your garlic, then throw into your pot and gently fry for a minute or two.

Now toss in the dried chillies, the smoked paprika and the cayenne pepper. Give it a good  stir to make sure the onions don’t burn. You may need to open a window at this point or whack the extractor fan on as this is going to smell seriously spicy.

Next, chuck in your mince and break it up whilst stirring to give it a good lick of flavour. Once browned pour in a generous glass of wine and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes whilst you have a few sips of your own glass of wine.

Time for the tomato puree, tins of tomatoes and the chocolate to be added to the pot. People often raise their eyebrows when I tell them I  put chocolate in my Chilli but I think it’s a key ingredient. The chocolate adds a certain rich earthiness to the dish.

Now add your pinch of salt and give the mixture one final stir.

Pop the lid on and cook for 3.5 hours. Stir it now and then, and after 3 hours add our drained kidney beans. Try not to lift the lid up too often as you’ll want that delicious aroma to still be lingering when you serve up.

In the last half hour, cook your rice, grate some cheese and if, like me, you love guacamole then knock this up too…

  • 1 x ripe avocado
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 handful of coriander
  • 6 x cherry tomatoes
  • 1 big pinch of rock salt

My guacamole is kind of rustic and takes minutes to make.

First off, use a fork to loosely mash your avocado, you don’t want a fine paste, just a nice chunky moosh (this is a technical term). Chop your red onion, coriander and cherry tomatoes and chuck it in with the mooshed avocado.  Squeeze in the juice of your lime and add the pinch of rock salt. Give everything a good mix. You’re done.

By now everything should be good to go. So, serve up that rice, dish up the chilli and dollop on the guacamole.

Portion control has never been my thing and I always make far more than needed as I am a big fan of  leftovers, but it’s safe to say this is a great one to eat for a few days in a row as the flavour just keeps on developing.

So, that’s it, the easiest and tastiest of Chilli’s going and on that note, I’m off to eat…

(P.S. This can also be made in a slow cooker, follow the same steps up until the oven point, then tip into your slow cooker, set it on low and cook for 4 – 6 hours)

Sophie x