Smoked chilli con carne
While the longer days means we can really feel Spring is coming - unfortunately, the weather hasn't necessarily matched the sunlight. These cold and blustery days mean there is nothing better than cooking a savoury and spicy stew - reminding us of better places and maybe a long distant holiday. Chilli con carne is the love child of the American south. This Tex-Mex star is a family favourite for a reason - only made better when smoked on the BBQ. Spice up your nacho night or warm up those tortillas - just crack a cold beer.
3 Gujillo chillis, stems and seeds removed
2 Ancho chilli stems and seeds removed
1 tbsp chipotle in adobo
1 litre chicken stock
1kg Pasture-fed beef chuck steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt to season
2 tbsp oil
1 Medium onion, finely diced
2 Cloves of garlic, sliced
1 Cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground cumin
1 pinch ground allspice
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp masa harina corn flour
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Hot sauce, to taste
We use Sonelo & Co Charcoal for everything cooked on the bbq.
Serve with sliced spring onions, chopped coriander, sour cream, cheese & guacamole.
Prepare the bbq for direct heat – 1 chimney lit charcoal onto ½ chimney unlit with the dampers ½ open. Lid off until ready to cook.
On the stove, bring a cast iron skillet to a moderate heat. Place the chillies in the pan, and cook, turning frequently until toasted & aromatic. Remove the chillies from the pan, and transfer to a medium saucepan.
Add the chicken stock to the saucepan along with the chillies. Place over a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the chipotle in adobo, then use a stick blender to blend the chillies into the stock and set aside.
Set a wide but shallow cast iron pot over the hot coals.
Season the chuck generously with salt. Bring the pot to a high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot and heat. Working in 2-3 batches, add the pieces of chuck steak to the pot. Cook, turning occasionally until well browned on all sides. Remove from the pot and repeat the process with the remaining pieces of chuck steak.
Once you have browned all of the beef, move the pan to a moderate heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lard. Add the onions & garlic. Cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the spices to the pan, along with the tomato paste. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until the spices smell toasted & aromatic.
Add the chilli stock to the pan, along with the chuck and any resting juices. Return to a high heat. Bring to a simmer, then return to a moderate heat, to maintain a gentle simmer.
Throw a handful of smoking chips on the coals and place the lid on the BBQ. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, throw another handful of smoking chips onto the coals. Replace the lid, and continue to cook for a further 2.5 hours, topping up the fuel if necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Also keep an eye on the level of liquid – if it's starting to over reduce, add a little water.
At this stage, add the masa harina, stirring it in quickly. This will lightly thicken the sauce. Add the cider vinegar. Season with salt to taste, and add a teaspoon or two of your favourite hot sauce.
Note - if you don't have access to a charcoal BBQ, you can cook this on your stove or in your oven. Follow all the above steps for cooking but use your stovetop instead. Place your Chilli con Carne in a preheated oven at 150C for the slow, 2.5 hour cook.