Before I come to the chilli I mentioned last week I owe my son an apology. On Friday he phoned me at work to ask how to boil an egg. I told him and then, once off the phone, I joked to my colleague that although he is twenty and a fairly good cook he had no idea how to cook an egg. That evening we were entertaining guests and I made a seared tuna nicoise. I wanted the eggs to be that lovely hardboiled but soft yolked stage. It took me eleven eggs to get eight that were presentable. So Rick, I am sorry and here for both us is a guide to boiling an egg.
I had been looking forward to making the chilli and I wasn’t going to be stopped by slicing part of my thumbnail off whilst distractedly slicing garlic for the meal before.
This is another long cook which I started the night before.
600g cooking chorizo
2 onions finely sliced
500g carrots, diced
1 stalk celery,diced
6 cloves garlic
1 red chilli sliced
1 beef cheek
Splash red wine
Splash sherry vinegar
1tbl cumin seeds
1 star anise
1tsp dried marjoram
2tsp dried oregano
Dried chillies to taste
25g Chocolate shaving stick
Slice the chorizo and brown until it releases its oil. Save about one tablespoon of the oil to fry the onion in; normally I would add the oil to the chilli but we are being good here. On a very low heat fry the onion in the oil. I have found that recipes which say “fry the onion for five minutes until golden brown” are lying. After five minutes my onions are either hardly cooked or burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. So, very gently fry the onion in a covered pan for a couple of hours. Add the celery, carrots and whole garlic and fresh chilli and carry on frying for another hour. By this point the onions will be caramelised and the celery,carrots and garlic will be soft and sweet. Transfer to an over proof dish or slow-cooker.
Season the beef cheek and brown in a frying pan then deglaze the pan with the wine and vinegar. Add the beef and liquid to the dish. Dry fry the spices and then add to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar along with the marjoram and oregano and grind to a fine powder. Add to the dish along with the passata, chorizo and shaving stick.
The shaving stick I found at the Rabot Estate shop at Borough Market. It is 100% cocoa fermented and pressed into a stick. I originally added 1/4 of a 50g stick but when I first tasted the chilli after cooking it had a certain “hollowness” to it, brought on I think by the bulking out with celery and carrots. I added another 1/4 which did add richness but also a slight bitter after-taste which is why I added a lot more passata than I would normally have used.
Slow cook for several hours. Before serving stir thoroughly until the beef and garlic are broken up and distributed throughout.
I served the chilli on a jacket potato and, before snaffling it, I asked Debbie to photograph it.
Bulked out chilli – photograph by Debdooblah
We were a little naughty at the weekend, welcoming Summer with a shared bottle of wine but for me at least it didn’t have too much of a detrimental effect as at weigh-in I had lost five pounds.
We have a difficult weekend ahead but lots of salads during the week will hopefully counter it.