What a title for a blog entry? Novels are not the only book I’m writing. I’m also collaborating with my wife on a family cook book. We both love cooking and want to share our love with our children and anyone else who wants to eat delicious, easy to make at home dishes. We’ll be including some fairly basic standard recipes but also a selection of dishes that we have formulated ourselves. Today I thought I’d share with you my chile recipe. It was inspired by Mexican cuisine but involves my own touches.
A note on ingredients
Always when cooking it is important to use the very best of ingredients that you can. This doesn’t mean you use the most expensive item or the item with the fanciest packaging, it means that if I need an onion, I get the best, freshest onion I can get my hands on. To that end I have found a green grocer who takes pride in sourcing local fruit and veg and stocks a large range of organic foods. When it comes to organic, don’t be fooled into thinking they are more nutritious, they aren’t (by and large) but organic farming is less damaging to the environment and doesn’t use harmful insecticides, which means you aren’t eating harmful insecticides. If you can, grow your own vegetables and fruit, it is fun and tastes great. If you can make your own bacon, do it. Likewise for the chorizo. But, like me, you probably don’t or can’t. So find a good deli (your supermarket chain store probably just won’t cut it in the quality stakes, trust me, you’ll know the difference when you find a really good grocer and deli and butcher)
The story of the recipe
My friend says he loves chile. He says he cooks good chile and so he wanted to celebrate the king of dishes by having a chile cook-off. Six of us and our partners and friends each created the best chile we could and had a big feast. To win, I researched Mexican and Spanish cuisine and made a couple of experimental versions to see how some of the, to me, unusual flavours would work. On the night I won. Hooray. So here is the tequila winning chile recipe along with the method for cooking it.
Note: The chorizo is of the dry or cured variety, a bit like salami, as opposed to the wet fresh type. The jalapeno in the spice mix can be substituted with a chipotle if you can get one, it adds extra smoky goodness.
Spice mix: 1 level teaspoon cinnamon 4 cloves of garlic 1 heaped teaspoon cumin 3 teaspoons oregano 1 jalapeno The Rest 200 grams bacon finely diced 1 dried hot chorizo finely diced 1 small red capsicum chopped 1 tin diced tomatoes 1 onion finely diced 400 gram tin of large red kidney beans 1 tub of tomato paste 500 grams mince meat 1 - 3 jalapeno roughly chopped (depending on how hot you want it, remember the chorizo is quite hot as well) Method: Make the spice mix by mashing in a mortar and pestle all the spices and the chopped garlic and finely chopped jalapeno (including all seeds). Add one or two teaspoons of water to turn it into a paste and grind it good. In a hot pan put the onion and some olive oil. Cook until the onion just starts to go translucent then add the chorizo and bacon. Cook until the bacon and chorizo oil comes out and the meat starts to sizzle. Add the spice mix and fry in the combined bacon and chorizo oil until fragrant (about a minute). Add the chopped jalapeno and the mince meat. Cook until the mince is brown through then add the tomato, tomato paste and the beans and capsicum. Mix it up well and cover it to simmer for twenty minutes. Best served the next day after it has been sitting.
This is really good when served in a big dish with guacamole and sour cream with toasted tortillas for scooping. Share it and do a tequilla slammer and you’ll have a good old time. I’ve had to adjust the number of chillies I’ve added depending on how hot the chorizo is. Where I used to live there was a deli with home made chorizo that was quite hot, so I didn’t add any extra (other than the one in the spice mix) but where I am now, I can only get the crappy mass produced chorizo which is lame and has no flavour because the mass market can’t handle genuine flavour. I’m not just talking about spicy hot, but total flavour. The chorizo I originally used for this was tangy, smoky and orange in colour from the paprika and spices. The mass produced stuff is a mild pork sausage with a pinch of spice. So get the real deal if you can.