This is a comforting recipe for winter, and features in Nigella Christmas.
Thanks to Daily Mail and Oprah.com i didn’t have to finger-stab this recipe in today.
I’ve just made it for my lover and husband’s (he’s the same fellow in case that wasn’t clear) birthday dinner.
Thanks to lovely jovely Amber Hendry for sharing the secret of the wonderful Books for Cooks Cook Book series via the store with the same name in Portobello, London http://www.booksforcooks.com who curate the year’s hit recipes from their cookbook-stores test kitchen, into these little palm sized anthologies, as this recipe features in number 9. There’s no photos, so you have to trust they know what they’re talking about, when they recommend… But i have never been disappointed and have made salads, soups, stews, cakes and desserts to delighted eaters.
Back to tonight’s dinner, i’ll admit to it being labour intensive cos of that annoying-but-worth-it process of browning the meat. I also wondered, and i’d love your thoughts, should i trim the fat off the top of the cross-cut blade (beef steak) or do i leave intact?
Nana and Mum have always recommended the cross-cut blade piece of the cow because of the sinew creating (if i remember rightly) a lovely caramel flavour (i could be exaggerating) and a soft of melt in your mouth consistency.
This meal and this recipe always puts me in the mood for a party and reminds me how fruitful it is for my spirits (and perhaps others’?) to throw a crap dinner party, and spontaneously invite a bunch of neighbours, or some of the kindy kids and their whanau to share flavour and chaos with us in our intimate dining area.
I’m reminded to be mindful and embrace the here and now, rather than waiting to entertain when i have that to-die-for-kitchen with its-to-die-for-dining-space ready and right to host many in a ambience of ease and light.
Instead of living in a reality of i-will-do-such-and-such-and-so-and-so when/if i have that perfect space, i say, come on over for a slice of humble and happy pie.
What i love about this recipe and in fact food in general is the celebration and communion it symbolises (should we let it). Stirring these spices, swilling these tomatoes got me to thinking of all my foodie-friends. The friends who have cooked for me, and i them. Those who’ve come to the Ottolenghi dinners i’ve had ‘illegally’ whilst house-sitting. Those who’ve arrived to my house to a dinner party and have found themselves stirring the risotto, or compiling the trestle table, or picking the herbs via torchlight to eat at the romantic sophisticated hour of 9.30pm!
Those friends and family who celebrate flavour and texture and colours of a culinary venture, and love getting gifts from the kitchen shop in their Christmas stocking, like that ergonomic zester, or that cheese file…
The other thing, the final thing (i think) i love about this recipe is it’s from Nigella. I love this woman and her succulent series of TV shows. It’s great fore-play (just saying). I love that she sneaks down to the fridge at midnight to feast on some saucy leftover. I love that this is a red meat dish, a Mexican Stew, a twist on the ‘casserole’, and she includes an infamous ingredient and entitles it
C h o c C h i p C h i l l i
- 500g onions (about 3), peeled
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 fresh long red chilli, deseeded
- 4 x 15ml tablespoons vegetable oil
- seeds from 3 cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies
- 550g chorizo sausages (not the salami sort), to give 10 sausages or 5 linked pairs
- 1.5kg boneless shin of beef, cut into 1.5cm cubes
- 4 x 15ml tablespoons tomato purée
- 4 x 15ml tablespoons tomato ketchup
- 4 x 400g cans red kidney beans, drained
- 3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 250ml water (swilled out in one of the chopped tomato cans)
- 50g dark chocolate chips (minimum 70 per cent cocoa solids)
❄ Preheat the oven to 150C/gas mark 2.
❄ Finely chop or process the onion, garlic and chilli. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan (with lid) or flameproof casserole and fry the onion, garlic and chilli until soft, on low for about 10 minutes, then add the cardamom seeds, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and dried chillies.
❄ Stir the oniony spiced mixture together and then add the chorizo sliced into 5mm coins, letting them ooze their paprika-orange oil.
❄ Drop in the cubes of beef, turning them in the pan with the chorizo and onion mix to brown the meat.
❄ Stir in the tomato purée, ketchup, drained kidney beans and chopped tomatoes. Add the water and bring the chilli to a boil.
❄ Once it’s started bubbling, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the chilli and give it a good stir. Put on a lid and transfer to the oven.
❄ Cook at this low heat for 3 hours. Once cooked it is best left overnight to improve the flavour.
If you’re not buying your meat from a butcher, you can use regular stewing steak from the supermarket, but you’ll need to cube it smaller and it is unlikely to get quite as tender as shin.I often buy shin of beef frozen and vacuum-packed online to stash in my freezer.
Cook the chilli in the oven for 2½ hours only. Cool, cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. When ready to use, tip the chilli into a pan and bring slowly to the boil on the hob, stirring occasionally. Cover tightly and return to the oven for 1 hour until piping hot.
Cook the chilli for 2½ hours only. Cool and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat as above.
Enjoy dear people and please let this serve as motivation to throw a crap dinner party as soon as not’s possible…