Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Bonfire Fodder - Buffalo Chilli
If I was having one of those bonfire type gatherings, this would be my food of choice, because it is easy to scale up or down, looks as well atop a jacket potato as it does on some fluffy rice, and warms your bones as you stand out watching hundreds of thousands of pretty sparks shoot across an inky sky. Of course, some carefully chosen alcohol would also keep you warm against the cold, but it doesn't keep your hands warm as you wrap your hand around the glass, whereas a bowl of this stuff warms you inside and out, and tastes splendid.
Buffalo. I am not deliberately trying to be fancy. The fact is, it was at the back of the freezer, almost in the permafrost (I need to defrost the freezer) and I bought it because it was cheap. In reality, this is how I acquire the vast majority of some of the weirder ingredients in my freezer - if it has a yellow sticker, then it will be bought for some point in the future, and as far as the buffalo is concerned, that point has now been reached. You could obviously use diced beef; It would still be tremendous.
I kept the chilli reasonably tame because of Lola and Finn who aren't fond of eating anything which feels like it should be on fire. You should be far more liberal if fire eating happens to be your thing.
If you cook this really slow, you should produce unctuous chunks of beef which you theoretically cut with a spoon, and like most dishes of this nature, it is amazingly good the day after. And if you really go for it you could freeze vats of the stuff to be eaten on another random winter night, minus fireworks, when you need something to defrost your bones.
Buffalo Chilli, loosely based on any recipe or any version of chilli or a stew that I have ever made.
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad, plus 1 other, generously
1 chipotle chilli
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 peppers - I went for all red - diced
1 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 fresh green chilli, deseeded if you like, finely chopped
800g diced buffalo (or diced beef)
3 garlic cloves
250ml beef stock
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
3 x 400g tins of kidney beans
1 tbsp. fresh coriander stalks
Soak the chipotle chilli in a few tablespoons of water until it is soft. Whilst this is happening, you should crack on with the rest of the method.
Heat 2 of the tbsp. of oil in a suitable pot/pan that will be big enough to take all the ingredients later on.
Add the onion, the peppers, the chilli, the coriander stalks and the celery with some salt and saute until soft but not coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Put the rest of the oil into the pan and then add the meat. You should cook the buffalo until it is well browned; consider doing this in a couple of batches as you want the beef to brown, not steam. Add the chopped garlic and a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook the garlic only until fragrant and then add the beef stock. Deglaze the pan with the stock and bring it to the boil.
Return the pepper mixture to the pan and add the herbs and spices.
Add the tomatoes and the kidney beans and some seasoning. You will need a good amount of seasoning so don't be shy.
Lastly, remove the chipotle chilli from the soaking liquid and chop finely. Add this and the soaking liquid to the mixture and stir well.
I simmered this, covered with a tightly fitting lid, on a really low heat for a couple of hours, checking it now and then to ensure it wasn't boiling dry. After a couple of hours gentle simmering, I removed the lid and raised the heat to reduce the sauce to the consistency that I like.