There are three twists to this class chilli con carne recipe. The first is to use chunks of braising steak instead of mince. The second is the addition of spiced butter (courtesy 0f Heston Blumenthal) at the end of cooking. The third is something that felt like it made sense at the time – and felt like it made even more sense once the dish was finished: the addition of Chinese black bean sauce to the stew.
Why black bean sauce? Well, I had hoped to use fermented black beans instead of kidney beans in the recipe, but couldn’t find any. Instead, I used kidney beans and the Chinese sauce from a jar. It gave the resulting dish a sweet and piquant finish.
For the chilli
1-2 tbsp oilive oil
500g braising steak, trimmed of fat
1 tbsp plain flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
250 ml beef stock
250 red wine
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 can kidney beans
1 jar Chinese black bean sauce
1 star anise
For the spiced butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp tomato ketchup
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Marmite
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. To make the butter, heat the oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the cumin and chilli powder for a couple of seconds, to take away the rawness. Pour into a bowl and add the smoked paprika, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Marmite and butter. Mix together thoroughly. Put in a small boll or roll into a log. Keep in the fridge until required for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.
2. For the chilli, heat a little oil in a frying pan. Dust the beef chunks in seasoned flour and fry until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and wipe the pan clean.
3. Add another drop of oil and gently cook the onions, garlic and green chilli. Return the beef chunks to the pan, then add the tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans, beef stock, red wine, star anise and black bean sauce. Stir to combine.
4. Transfer to a slow cooker, set on LOW. Cook for 5-6 hours, until the beef is very tender.
5. An hour before the end of the cooking time, add the spiced butter and stir through.
6. Serve with freshly baked corn muffins and sliced roasted red peppers, soured cream and grated Cheddar cheese.
• I’ve entered this recipe in The Spice Trail Challenge over at Bangermashchat.