- 2 dried ancho chillies
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ kg braising steak, cut into 4cm cubes – meat from the brisket, short rib, blade or chuck steak are all good
Steak is essentially a boneless thick or thin slice of red meat, cut across the grain of a large…
- 2 onions, finely chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
Peanut butter starts with dry roasting peanuts, which concentrates and heightens their flavour…
- ½ tsp instant espresso powder
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1l beef or chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- small piece of cinnamon stick
A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…
- 2 tbsp semolina, polenta or Mexican masa flour
Semolina flour is pale-yellow in colour, high in gluten and used for traditionally made pasta,…
- 25g dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa solids)
Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…
- 400g can kidney beans, drained but not rinsed (optional)
Native to the Americas, kidney beans are so called because of their shape and come in very…
Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Over a high heat, toast the whole chillies on all sides until you can smell them cooking, then remove and set aside. Keep the pan on the heat and toast the peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds until they just start to change colour, then grind to a powder using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Mix with the smoked paprika and oregano (this is a standard tex-mex seasoning), then set aside.
Return the casserole to the heat, add half the oil and heat until shimmering. Fry the beef in batches, adding more oil if you need to, until it’s browned on all sides, then set aside. Fry the onions in the pan over a low heat for about 8 mins until soft and golden, then add the garlic and cook for 1 min more. Working fast, add the meat and juices, the spice mix, tomato purée, peanut butter and coffee to the pan and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring to coat the meat until everything is thick and gloopy, then pour in the vinegar and stock.
Add the toasted chillies back into the casserole, along with the bay leaves, cinnamon and some salt. Bring to a simmer and stir well, then cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 3hrs, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender but not falling apart. Take the casserole out of the oven, put back on the stove and remove the lid. Simmer the sauce for 5 mins, then stir in the semolina flour and simmer for 2-3 mins more. Finely grate over the chocolate, stir through with the beans and simmer for a minute more to heat through. Fish out the chillies, then leave everything to rest for at least 15 mins.
Bring the pan to the table. Serve with bowls of accompaniments and the chilli paste (see tip below) to add heat.
Make chilli oil pasteWhen you remove the chillies before serving, toss them into a mini chopper with a splash more oil and blitz to make a chilli oil paste. Serve on the side of your chilli con carne.