We love visiting our friends Mark & Martine, not least because we always eat well and it’s nice to have a late night soak in their outdoor hot tub after a day pottering about. We’ve known them since uni days (longer ago than needs to be mentioned). Back then, I’d never have pegged Mark as someone who’d get into cooking in such a big way, especially the baking and puddings! Then again, I’d never have put Pete and I down as such enthusiastic kitchen gardeners – our glee at our new greenhouse a couple of years ago verged on the demented!
One of the lovely meals Mark cooked for us last year was a chilli con carne recipe with chorizo and chocolate. It was delicious – the spicy flavour of the chorizo and the bitter-sweet cocoa gave the finished dish a wonderful, complex flavour.
Mark gave me a copy of the Nigella recipe he had used, with tips on some adaptations. I’ve made quite a few more tweaks of my own (including switching cubed beef shin for minced beef) and have re-written the method too.
It took me about 10-15 minutes to measure out and prepare all the ingredients, then about 30 minutes to do all the stove top steps before popping the dish into the oven for three hours.
Chocolate & Chorizo Chilli Con Carne
Adapted from Nigella’s Choc Chip Chilli from Nigella Christmas
250 grams cooking chorizo, chopped into small pieces (I used Unearthed’s Spanish cooking chorizo)
800 grams minced beef
Approximately 250 grams (2 medium) onions peeled and chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Seeds from 1 large brown cardamom pod
1 teaspoon ground cumin (see Notes, will use 2 teaspoons next time)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (see Notes, will use 1 teaspoon next time)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (see Notes, perhaps 1 teaspoon next time)
1/2 teaspoon my home-made very very hot chilli powder}
1-2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato puree
1 can red kidney beans, drained (400 grams can, 250 grams drained weight)
800 grams tinned chopped tomatoes
40 grams dark chocolate, chopped
Additional water, as required (I added about 250 ml)
- Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy oven proof pan with a lid and sauté the onion and garlic over low heat until soft (about 10 minutes).
- Add the cardamom seeds and the cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chilli powders and stir thoroughly.
- After a couple of minutes, add the chorizo pieces and fry until they leak their aromatic orange oil.
- Add the minced beef in batches, to make it easier to brown the meat. Cook until all the beef is nicely browned.
- Add the tomato puree, drained kidney beans and chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add water at this point, if there’s not much liquid.
- Bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the chocolate.
- Cover and bake in the oven for 3 hours. (Check once an hour through the cooking time and add water if looking too dry).
I was pretty happy with the result, and Pete really loved it. The chorizo gave it’s unique, smoky flavour to the finished dish. The chocolate wasn’t obvious – it blended in completely but no doubt added to the richness.
My only change will be to double the amount of cumin and coriander, next time, and maybe up the cinnamon too, to give a stronger punch of that traditional chilli con carne taste.
Addendum: we’ve made this again several times and have indeed always doubled cumin and coriander from the amounts listed above. Works beautifully.
If you have any chilli con carne recipes or tips, please do let me know in the comments below! Thanks!