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We’ve been a bit quiet on here because we’ve been spending our evenings outside in the sunshine. This week looks less promising weather-wise so we should get all the recipes we’ve tried posted.

Wine Suggestion: We’d pair this with a current favourite, from Sartarelli’s side project, the Colline Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from the rolling hills of Marches, Italy. Fresh and lightly floral, the green apple and pear flavours emphasise the lovely fresh broad beans and the hints of sage and green almonds match the cream and chilli.

Broad beans, mint & chilli pasta – serves 2

  • 200g podded broad beans (we use frozen)
  • 200g pasta e.g. penne
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, remove the seeds and finely slice
  • 1 lemon, zested, plus 1tbsp of juice
  • a knob of butter
  • 30g Parmesan or pecorino, finely grated, plus some extra to serve
  • 2 tbsp double cream or crème fraîche
  • a large handful of mint, roughly chopped

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the broad beans for 2-3 minutes, depending on their size. Scoop them out of the water with a slotted spoon, then rinse under cold water to cool. Pop the beans out of their skins and set aside.

Bring the water back to the boil again and add some more salt. Cook the pasta until al dente, skimming off any scum from the surface of the water.

Meanwhile, warm a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil, scallions, garlic, chilli, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes without colouring.

Add the butter and broad beans and season with black pepper. Stir to coat the beans in the sauce and crush a few of them with your spoon. Remove the cooked pasta from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with the beans. Add an extra couple of spoons of pasta cooking water if you need, then the Parmesan. Toss until the sauce is creamy and glossy, then pour in the cream, followed by the lemon juice and mint. Season to tate and serve in warm bowls with some extra cheese.

(Original recipe by Rosie Birkett in Olive Magazine, June 2021.)

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Barbecued watermelon is a revelation for us as it really intensifies the flavour. This combination with prawns, feta and chilli is total winner! Serve as a starter at your next barbecue. Another fab idea from Chasing Smoke.

Wine Suggestion: This dish has a real affinity with a juicy, youthful Grenache, be it a Rosé or a lightly chilled red like tonight’s Rubus by Jesus Romero. Made at 1000m above sea-level in the rural, far south of Aragon, Spain this is all cherry, blackberry and spice; seriously gluggable.

Grilled watermelon and prawns with feta & chilli – serves 4

  • 12 whole prawns in the shells (buy 16 if they’re small)
  • 2 thick slices from a large watermelon
  • 1 red chilli, sliced into rings (if you cut of the stalk and rub the chilli between your hands the seeds will fall out)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250g feta
  • a small bunch of mint, leave half the leaves whole and chop the rest
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra for brushing
  • 1 tsp roughly crushed black pepper

Take a small pointy knife and cut and cut down the back of each prawn, when you see the digestive string gently pull it out with the tip of the knife. Leave the prawns in a bowl in the fridge until ready to cook.

Cut the watermelon into 8 large wedges, leaving the skin on.

Mix the chilli slices with the vinegar and salt and set aside.

Light your barbecue and get it up to a high heat.

Brush the watermelon with some olive oil, then put on the hottest part of the barbecue for 1-2 minutes on each side or until charred. Remove to a platter, then grill the prawns for a 2-3 minutes on each side, depending how big they are.

Add the prawns to the watermelon, crumble over the feta, then scatter with the mint leaves.

Stir the olive oil, black pepper and chopped mint into the marinating chilli and drizzle over the platter.

(Original recipe from Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Aroudn the Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Pavilion, 2021.)

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PSB is our veg saviour early in the year when winter is lingering and spring still seems too far away. We loved this roasted version with a tangy lemon dressing.

Roasted PSB with feta & preserved lemons – serves 4 to 6 as a side

  • 500g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon, flesh and rind chopped, plus 1 tbsp juice from the jar
  • 80g yoghurt
  • 1 garlic cloves, grated
  • 30g feta

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the PSB into large roasting tin, add the olive oil and red chilli, season with salt and pepper, then toss with your hands.

Roast for 15 minutes, turning halfway, until tender and starting to char.

Meanwhile stir the preserved lemon, juice and garlic into the yoghurt.

Crumble the feta over the roasted broccoli and drizzle with yoghurt dressing and your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is so simple and definitely better than a take away. While we’re not massive fans of baby corn it provides a crunch and texture that would be missing from the dish if not there. Made for Jono’s birthday on a Monday after a weekend of extensive birthday cooking; great flavours and quick for a work day celebration.

Wine Suggestion: We’d opened a Dermot Sugrue Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan, a profound, complex and rewarding English Sparkling for Jono’s birthday and had a leftover glass with this dish. We discovered Dermot’s wines a few years ago and have loved them ever since and it was a super match, standing up to the Asian flavours exceptionally well. We know this particlar wine may be hard to find but look for a good crisp sparkling that has been left on lees for a while or a good Champagne – sparkling should be so much more than a celebratory glass and they make great food matches.

Thai Chicken Stir-fry with Cashews & Chilli Sauce – serves 4

  • 100g baby corn
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, thickly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, cut into thick pieces
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 50g roasted cashews
  • Thai basil or regular basil and steamed rice, to serve

FOR THE CHILLI SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp Thai chilli paste/jam (nam prik)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp oyster sauce

Make the chilli sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, then set aside.

Blanch the baby corn in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water and drain again.

Heat a large wok until hot and add ½ tbsp vegetable oil. Brown the chicken in batches. If you leave them for 2-3 minutes on one side initially they will get a nice colour, then stir-fry for another minute or until golden on all sides. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat another ½ tbsp oil of oil in the wok over a medium heat, then add the garlic and chilli and stir-fry for a minute. Add the peppers, onions, cashews and baby corn and heat for 1 minute. Pour in the chilli sauce and add the chicken. Stir-fry until heated through and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with steamed rice and basil sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from My Asian Kitchen by Jennifer Joyce, Murdoch Books, 2018.)

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Barbecued Prawns with Chilli, Lime & Coriander Butter

Messy but oh so good! Treat your friends to a pile of these at your next barbecue and you will be very popular. Napkins, finger bowls, baby wipes etc., essential!

Wine Suggestion:  we think this needs an uncomplicated and fun white like a Picpoul de Pinet, Muscadet or Albariño, or going up a gear we chose the Bodegas Katxina Txakoli from near San Sebastien in Spain … tapas, sun, seafood and socialising. Happy days.

Barbecued prawns with chilli, lime & coriander butter – serves 4

  • 1kg large raw tiger prawns with the shell on, remove the heads before cooking

FOR THE BUTTER:

  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • a small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
  • 200g butter, softened

Make the butter by putting the garlic, coriander, chilli and lime juice into a food processor and pulse until chopped.

Toss 1 tbsp of the flavoured butter with prawns and leave in the fridge until ready to cook.

Put the rest onto a piece of tin foil and roll into a sausage shape. Put into the freezer to harden.

Preheat the barbecue, then cook the prawns for a few minutes on each side until pink. Serve on a platter and melt thin slices of the butter over the top. You can also melt some extra butter and serve on the side if you want. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chilli Con Carne

These times definitely call for easy freezer meals. The one and only preparation we made when the restrictions were first announced, was to make a big pot of chilli. No soap, toilet rolls or hand sanitiser but we had chilli, which was enough to reassure us. It’s also one of those dishes that seems to improve in the freezer. Serve with guacamole/avocado, sour cream, fresh coriander, grated cheese, tortilla chips, jacket potatoes, rice, lime wedges or whatever else you like with your chilli.

Wine Suggestion: Juicy and red is our rule with Chilli and your choice will depend on personal taste and wines that come to hand. It could be a rich, brambly and chocolatey Puglian Primitivo or Cali Zinfandel; or an Aussie Shiraz; a standout Languedoc or Southern Rhone Blend; possibly Ribera del Duero; or for us tonight a northern Rhone Syrah from Cornas and the warm vintage of 2009. Fruit is the key factor, just make sure you have a balance of freshness too as the food won’t help wines that tip over the edge in alcohol without balance.

Chilli Con Carne – serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 450g beef mince
  • 225g pork mince
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over a medium heat, then gently fry the onions for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and caramelised. Don’t be tempted to cook them any quicker or they won’t give the dish as much flavour.

Add the beef and pork mince and fry for about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, or until browned and no pink bits remain. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, spices and stock. Season well and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat for an hour, stirring now and again (no need to cover). Stir in the beans and cook for another 20 minutes, then season to taste.

Serve with your choice of sides but we can’t do without rice/jacket potatoes, lime wedges, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, chopped coriander, tortilla chips and avocado/guacamole.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Guacamole

We have a stash of chilli in the freezer which makes for perfect Friday night food. We like our chilli with a ridiculous number of extras including grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, fresh coriander, lime wedges, tortilla chips, rice or jacket potatoes and a big bowl of guacamole. Do not feel limited to serving this with a chilli either as we’ll spread this on toast, have with jacket potatoes or tortillas, or whenever the notion takes us.

Guacamole – serves 4

  • ¼ white onion, chopped
  • 25g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 big green chilli, chopped, leave in the seeds
  • 4 small avocados, roughly chopped
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • juice of ½ lime

Put the onion, most of the coriander and the chilli in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and grind to a paste.

Add the avocados to the pestle and mortar with the rest of the coriander, the oregano and the lime juice. Pound until mixed and chunky, then season to taste with some more salt or lime.

Serve with chilli or on top of toast.

(Original recipe from Where the Wild Cooks Go by Cerys Matthews, Penguin Books, 2019.)

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Pork Chilli

We love cooking roasts on a Sunday and are often left with heaps of leftovers. This is an easy chilli which uses cooked pork – perfect for mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: We think that youthful, juicy and medium bodied reds are a good match here. For us it was a Joven Rioja made by Martinez Bujanda which is finely judged to celebrate the fruit without over-powering tannins. Chilled in the fridge for half an hour too.

Leftover Pork Chilli – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 500g cold roast pork, in 2cm cubes

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan with a lid. Fry the vegetables over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened.

Add the spices and oregano and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and stock. Season.

Bring to the boil, then turn down to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the pork, cover, and cook for another 30 minutes.

Serve with rice.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

 

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Spaghetti with Prawns & Rocket

Easy, tasty, prawns, chilli & spaghetti 🙂

Wine Suggestion: A great match was the Biancardi Solo Fiano from Puglia which was aromatic, floral and vibrantly fresh.

Spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola – serves 4

  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 dried chillies, crumbled (or you could use a tsp of chilli flakes)
  • 400g raw prawns (peeled)
  • 1 small wineglass of wine – about 175ml
  • 2 heaped tbsp of sun-dried tomato purée or 6 sun-dried tomatoes blitzed in a blender
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 handfuls of rocket, roughly chopped

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water according to the pack.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and chilli.

When the garlic starts to colour, add the prawns and sauté for a minute, then add the wine and tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a little bit of cooking water.

Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, the lemon juice and half the chopped rocket and season to taste (add a bit of the pasta water at this stage if needed).

Divide between plates and scatter with rocket and lemon zest before serving.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

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Chilli with Amazing Smoked Paprika Butter

The base recipe for this chilli is nothing unusual but it becomes much more special with the addition of a delicious smoked paprika butter stirred through at the end. It’s definitely our chilli of the moment! Serve with your choice of the usual chilli accompaniments – baked potatoes/rice, grated cheese, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips….

Wine Suggestion: choice one – a nice, clean lager like Peroni or the Harviestoun Schiehallion, or choice two – a juicy red wine like the Cline Lodi Zinfandel with brambly fruit and soft, spicy tannins.

Chilli minced beef with smoked paprika butter – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or garlic oil (if you have it)
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1kg beef mince
  • 200ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins of kidney beans
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (or substitute 2 tsp chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • 500ml strong beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • large handful of chopped coriander, plus extra to serve
  • lime wedges, to serve

FOR THE SMOKED PAPRIKA BUTTER

  • 75g soft butter
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime and juice of ½ lime
  • ½ tsp of sea salt

Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil and cook the onions, celery and garlic over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until softened. Turn up the heat, stir in the mince and fry until browned, breaking it up as you go with a wooden spoon.

Add the red wine and scrape any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil and allow the wine to reduce by half.

Stir in the beans, tomatoes, chilli, cumin, stock, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Season with a teaspoon of sea salt and some black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and cook for at least an hour, stirring now and then. You can add a cup of water if it starts to become too thick. Likewise, if it’s not thick enough, you can simmer without the lid for the last 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the smoked paprika butter by beating the butter together with the smoked paprika, lime zest, lime juice and salt.

Remove the herb sprigs form the chilli then stir through the coriander and the flavoured butter, then allow to sit for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve with coriander and lime wedges over the top.

(Original recipe from Marcus at Home by Marcus Waring, HarperCollins, 2016.)

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Beef & black bean chilli

We’re forever trying new chillies and this one has become the current favourite. Great for feeding a crowd and it tastes even better if cooked the night before. It’s also worth using dried black beans though you have to soak them overnight. If you’re using tinned beans make sure you buy Mexican black beans rather than fermented black beans used in Chinese dishes.

Wine Suggestion: an easy choice here, juicy and red. We chose a Primitivo from Puglia in Italy, the Biancardi Ponteviro which had a wonderful depth of brambly fruit and a hint of menthol freshness. A really good Zinfandel from California (Ridge I’m looking at you, but there are a number of others) would be a good alternative if that’s easier as it’s the same grape.

Chunky Beef & Black Bean Chilli – serves 6

  • 200g dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 750g beef shin, trimmed and cubed
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2-3 tbsp chipotle paste/chipotle chillies in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 x 400g tins of cherry tomatoes
  • sour cream (to serve)
  • tortilla chips (to serve)
  • cooked basmati rice (to serve)

FOR THE GUACAMOLE:

  • 2 avocados, peeled & stoned
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • a good pinch of ground cumin
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • a handful of coriander, chopped

Put the soaked pans into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a fast boil and cook for 30 minutes. Drain & rinse.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a wide casserole dish, add the onions and cook until soft and golden. Add the garlic and chilli and keep cooking for another minute, then scoop out onto a plate.

Heat another tbsp of oil in the same dish and use to brown the meat in batches. When all the meat is browned put it all back into the dish and add the onion mixture, the tomato purée, chipotle paste, spiced and dried oregano. Cook for a minute, then add the stock, vinegar, sugar and tined tomatoes. Season, stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer, cover with a tight lid and continue to cook for 2½-3 hours or until  the meat is very tender.

To make the guacamole, mash the ingredients roughly together with a generous pinch of salt.

Serve the chilli with the guacamole, sour cream, tortilla chips and basmati rice.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, October 2013.)

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Chilli con carne

Oh yes, another chilli recipe. This one is interesting though as it uses braising steak instead of mince. We loved it!

Wine Suggestion: A juicy red with a bit of spice is our choice for this dish especially those with a good dollop of Grenache in them. First choice might be a good Cotes du Rhone, but venturing a bit from the tried and trusted we found a Spanish Garnacha made by Bodegas Monfil. An inexpensive wine from the Cariñena region is Spain with bags of flavour but also open, round and juicy; perfect for a Chilli!

Chilli Con Carne – serves 4

  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 400g braising steak, trimmed and cut into very small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • ½-1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 small square 85% cocoa dark chocolate (optional)
  • tin red kidney beans, drained
  • sour cream, to serve
  • chopped coriander, to serve
  • cooked brown rice, to serve

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a casserole dish over a low heat. Fry the celery and onions over a gentle heat until softened and translucent.

Add the garlic & chilli and fry until the garlic is cooked, then add the cumin and paprika and cook stirring for another 30 seconds. Remove this mixture from the pan and set aside. Add another tbsp of oil to the pan, turn up the heat, and quickly fry the meat in batches to brown it.

Return the onions to the pan and add the tin of tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes up with the back of a spoon. Crumble the stock cube into the tomato tin, fill with water and tip into the pan. Add the chilli flakes and simmer gently for 2 hours, or until thick and glossy, stirring now and then.

Add the chocolate and stir in, then stir in the kidney beans and heat through.

Serve with brown rice, coriander & sour cream.

(Original recipe by Victoria Moore in BBC Olive Magazine, April 2013.)

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Turkey Chilli with jacket potatoes

This is a good chilli for mid-week. It uses turkey mince which is lean, and easy to pick up now in supermarkets. It’s not lacking in flavour and we will definitely be doing it again.

Wine Suggestion: a lighter Spanish red is the trick here; make sure it doesn’t have too many tannins. Our find of the moment is a rarity from Teruel, in Aragon which has a harsh climate of hot summers and very bitterly cold winters. From a resurrected-reinvented vineyard the Jesus Romero Rubus is an unoaked blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Syrah. The beauty of this wine is the purity of fruit that sings and layers itself across the palate and has a very long finish. Never heavy, yet full of life. That said, it’s mid-week, so go for it, have whatever is open and it’ll be grand!

Turkey Chilli Jacket Potatoes – serves 4

  • 4 large baking potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 300g turkey mince
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 350ml passata
  • cheddar cheese, grated, to serve
  • 4 scallions, chopped, to serve

Heat oven to 220ºC.

Prick the potatoes all over with a fork. Rub with a little oil, and bake for 20 mins, then turn the oven down to 200ºC and cook for 45 mins-1 hour depending on the size of your spuds.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and some seasoning, and cook for 5 mins until soft. Add the turkey mince and season again, then increase the heat and break up the mince with the back of your spoon. When it’s cooked through, add the spices, vinegar, sugar and passata. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 mins or until the liquid has reduced.

Cut a cross in the potatoes and serve filled with the chilli, some chopped scallions and grated cheese.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Lamb, beer & black bean chilli

We are forever trying new chilli recipes in an effort to find the best one. Most of them end up fairly similar to be honest but this one was deliciously different and therefore a suitable dish to serve up to friends who also cook their own versions.

Wine Suggestion: we often think the wine used to cook a dish is a good match and in this case the beer used would work, especially if you’ve used one with character and a bit of body. Alternately a good Languedoc or Roussillon (southern French) wine makes a good match. If you prefer white wine there are some great Grenache blanc or Grenache gris wines – try the Roc des Anges “Llum” for an amazing textured and savoury white or the Domaine Gayda’s Grenache Gris Selection which is richer and full of round, seductive fruit. If you prefer red then seek out a bottle of Chateau Saint Jacques d’Alba Minervois for a velvety, deep and satisfying drop.

Lamb, beer & black bean chilli – serves 6

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 750g shoulder of lamb, cubed
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 x 400g tins tomatoes
  • 600ml lager
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 x 400g tins black beans, drained and rinsed
  • juice of ½ – 1 lime
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • sour cream/Greek yoghurt
  • avocado
  • grated Lancashire/Wensleydale/Cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole and brown the lamb in batches until well coloured on all sides, then remove and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until golden, then add the garlic and chillies and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add the cumin and cook for a further minute. Return the lamb to the pot along with the tomatoes, lager, tomato purée, sugar, oregano and lamb, season well and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat immediately to a very gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1½ – 2 hours or until the lamb is tender. Stir in the beans halfway through.

Taste, then add the lime juice, scallions and coriander, then taste again. Season as needed and serve with soured cream, slices of avocado and grated cheese.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Crab & Chilli Risotto

We’d been eyeing this recipe up for a while and when we stumbled across some really good crab meat we had our excuse to make it. It was luxurious and delicious as we expected.

Wine suggestion: Go for a rich white like an oaked Chardonnay, which will also have a good freshness and texture to balance the rich risotto. Our choice was the Rustenberg Chardonnay from Stellenbosch in South Africa which never lets us down.

Crab & chilli risotto  – serves 2

  • 1 litre light chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • 2 garlic cloves, bashed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 75ml dry white wine or vermouth
  • 100g brown crabmeat
  • 100g white crabmeat
  • zest and juice of ½ a lemon, plus wedges to serve
  • 50g rocket

Heat up the stock, add the saffron threads and keep hot over a low heat.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan (which you have a lid for) and add the bashed garlic cloves. Leave to sizzle for a couple of minutes, then remove and discard the garlic. Add the scallions and most of the red chilli and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring, for about a minute.

Turn up the heat and stir in the rice so that the grains become coated in the oil.

Add the white wine/vermouth and let it bubble up until it has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of stock and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed.

Turn the heat down and continue to stir and add ladlefuls of stock, allowing each one to be absorbed before adding another. After about 18 minutes the stock should have all been absorbed and the rice should be al dente.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the crab and the lemon zest and juice, then season. Add the rocket, cover with the lid, and let stand for a minute.

Serve the risotto with the remaining chilli over the top and a squeeze of lemon.

(Original recipe from Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)

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This takes a dish we all love and gives it something special. As celeriac is in season, and very cheap at the moment, we’ve made this a lot recently and thoroughly enjoyed it each time. We haven’t tried it with the optional bacon yet but it tastes great without it.

Celeriac, potato & rosemary gratin – serves 4-6

  • 6 rashers bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 420ml double cream
  • 350ml milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 celeriac (about 500g) peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 500g potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

If you are using the bacon, grill it until cooked and lightly browned, then set aside.

Bring cream, milk, garlic, rosemary, chilli and mustard to the  boil in a medium saucepan, then turn off.

Pour a little of the cream mixture into the bottom of a gratin dish. Arrange a layer of celeriac, scatter with bacon and season. Pour over a bit more cream and repeat the process, alternating layers of potato and celeriac, finishing with a potato layer. Cover with the rest of the cream mixture, then bake for 1 hr-1hr 15 mins or until golden and tender to the point of a knife. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Easy Chunky Chilli

This recipe uses a couple of cheat ingredients (kidney beans in chilli sauce and chipotle paste) with great results – very little effort but tonnes of flavour!

Wine Suggestion: We’d go for something juicy, fruity and red. Perhaps a Spanish Garnacha or a lighter Zinfandel where the tannins aren’t too high and dry and won’t conflict with the heat in the chilli.

Easy Chunky Chilli – to serve 4

  • olive oil
  • 400g diced stewing beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp chipotle paste (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 400g can kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lime, zested and cut into wedges
  • handful of coriander leaves
  • rice, to serve

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pan and cook the beef pieces until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened. Add the garlic, cumin and chipotle paste and cook for one minute.

Sieve the kidney beans but reserve the sauce. Add this sauce, along with the tomatoes and a can full of water, to the pan. Stir well and return the meat to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then cook covered for about 2 hours or until the beef is tender (you can also bake in the oven for 3 hours at 160C/140C fan/gas 3).

Add the kidney beans and lime zest, season and warm through. Serve with the coriander leaves, lime wedges and rice.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is a doddle to whip up after work and it’s not a bad chilli for very little effort. Serve in warmed tortillas with some rocket and sour cream or in a baked potato.

Cheat’s Chilli – to serve 4

  • 500g minced beef
  • 350g jar of tomato and chilli sauce (we use our own tomato sauce which we always have a supply of in the freezer)
  • 400g tin of red kidney beans

Fry the mince in a non-stick pan until well browned. Pour in the sauce, then fill the empty jar about a third full of water and rinse out into the pan. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain and rinse the beans before adding to the meat and heat through for about 5 minutes or until the beans are hot and the sauce is thick.

 

 

 

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We love finding new variations of Chilli and this one has made our list of repeatable recipes. This is really filling and at less than 500 calories per portion also suitable for us dieters. We promise we’ll go back to normal in a few weeks time!

Black bean chilli with guacamole and garlic ciabatta – to serve 4

  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, 2 crushed and 1 left whole
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 x 400g tins black beans, drained
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 2 large avocados
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 8 slices ciabatta, toasted

Heat a tbsp of oil in a wide pan. Add the onions, crushed garlic and peppers, and cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the spices and some salt and cook for another minute. Tip in the beans, tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the flesh form the avocados with a spoon into a bowl. Add the lime zest and juice, scallions, chilli and seasoning, and mix with a fork to lightly mash the avocado.

Cut the whole garlic clove in half and use it to rub all over the ciabatta toasts. Drizzle with olive oil and pile the guacamole onto the toasts.

Serve the guacamole and garlic ciabatta with the chilli.

Wine Suggestion: We really like beer with chilli. If your not a fan of beer a light, fruity Grenache would work.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Tasty veggie chilli which is also healthy and low-fat. Really nice flavours.

Black bean chilli – serves 4-6

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp sweet pimenton (Spanish paprika) or mild chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • serve with: crumbled feta, chopped scallions, avocado chunks or soured cream

Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes or until almost soft. Add the pimenton and cumin and continue cooking for another few minutes before adding the vinegar, sugar, tomatoes and some seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve with rice and your choice of extras.

Wine Suggestion: As this is so healthy you might decide to have a glass of water. If you decide to treat yourself you could try a Zinfandel or a Grenache which which will complement the spicy flavours without being too tannic or heavy.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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