Cooking with Jane: smokey chilli con carne

This has a proper deep smoky heat from the chipotle I loved it, don’t be put off by the amount of chipotle this isn’t a spiky hot chilli that has you reaching for a glass of water. Don’t get too fussy with what you serve it with we just went for Doritos, plain yogurt (sour cream with or without chives works too), sliced avocado and grated cheese. You could serve with rice or baked potatoes but frankly I really couldn’t be bothered!
This recipe can either be cooked on the hob or in the slow cooker and you can use either minced beef or stewing/braising steak. I went with the stewing steak and slow cooker option but will try and differentiate as we go along.
Note the addition of chocolate in this recipe, you won’t taste it but it does add a smoothness to the chilli and balances the acidity of the tomatoes but don’t worry if you don’t have any just add a level tablespoon of sugar.
What do you need: feeds 4 (photo 1).
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 500g minced beef or stewing/braising steak cubed
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large red pepper sliced thickly
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced or grated (I went with smoked garlic worked a treat)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano or 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano
  • 2-3 tablespoons chipotle chilli paste (Morrisons and Tesco’s had some in yesterday) – I used 3 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons either tomato purée or ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
  • 1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 400ml beef stock (use a stock cube)
  • 1 x 400g can of red kidney beans
  • 4 small squares of dark chocolate or 1 tablespoon sugar.
You will also need a large saucepan and/or a slow cooker.
How to make it: Set the slow cooker if using to the Low setting.
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, pepper and garlic. Lower the heat and cook slowly till softened but not brown, keep stirring for about 5 minutes. (Photo 2).
2. If using a slow cooker tip the onions etc… into the slow cooker. If not using then just tip them out onto a plate and keep to one side.
3. Tip the meat into the saucepan. Turn up the heat and brown the mince or the steak on all sides, try and have as little pink as possible left. Will take 5-10 minutes. Keep moving it around and don’t burn. (photo 3 & 4).
4. Add the cumin, paprika, oregano, chipotle paste, tomato purée or ketchup, tinned tomatoes, the stock and a good grind of salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to the boil. (photo 5)
5. Once boiling, If cooking in the slow cooker carefully transfer into the slow cooker dish, mix into the onions and pop the lid on for 6-8 hours. If cooking on the hob add the onion mix back in, stir and place a lid onto the saucepan. (Photo 6 & 7). If cooking the mince version turn the heat right down to a gentle simmer for 45 minutes. If cooking the steak version turn the heat right down to a gentle simmer for at least 2 hours, check that the meat is tender after 2 hours as may need slightly longer.
6. Drain the red kidney beans and rinse under cold water till runs clear. For the slow cooker version add the beans and chocolate ( I used bourneville chocolate buttons needs must !) about 1 hour before you want to eat, stir in well replacing the lid for the last hour. For the mince and steak on the hob versions add the beans and chocolate 15 minutes before you want to eat stirring in well. (Photo 8)
For more information on Jane Cooper and other recipes visit the Cooking with Jane page here.