No, I am not going mad and I do mean carne con chilli - this dish is all about the meat, massive lumps of it. Everyone expects this dish to be made with mince, but why? I ate a version in Mexico made with big chunks of slow braised steak and it was a revelation. If you want to work this one during the week maybe think about investing in a slow cooker. I put mine on low before I went to work and it was ready when I got back at 7pm - the beef was so tender you could eat it with a spoon. Your butcher should be able to sort you out with whole steaks rather than small cubes of braising steak if you give him (or her in this age of equality) some notice. A good tip here for all tomato based sauces is to add something acidic and some sugar. The sweet and sour elements really lift the sauce, as does the mixture of chillies: dry; fresh; pickled and smoked. For four:
1kg chuck steak, trimmed and cut into four massive lumps
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 red peppers, deseeded
3 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
100g chorizo sausage, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, seeds in or out, finely chopped
10 jalapeno slices in vinegar and some of the vinegar, maybe 2 tbsp.
1 heaped tsp chilli powder, hot or mild
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 cinnamon stick
300ml full bodied red wine
2 tins good quality tomatoes
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 beef stock cube
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
2 tins kidney beans
Preheat your oven to 150c. Roast your peppers on the flame of your cooker until blackened all over. Leave to cool then remove the skin, de-seed and chop. In a large casserole pot, fry the steaks in the oil 2 at a time until really well browned. Remove the steaks and in the same pan add the onion and fry until well caramelised. Add the garlic, chorizo and red pepper and fry until softened and the red oil comes out of the sausage. Add the chilli powder, paprika, fresh chilli, cumin, cocoa and cinnamon stick and fry for a further 2 mins. Add the tomatoes, jalapenos and vinegar, wine, stock cube, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. If the tomatoes are whole, give them a squish in the pan to break up a bit, then bring to the simmer. Cover and put in the oven and slow braise for 2 to 3 hours depending on the thickness of your steaks. Remove the pan lid and cook for a further 30 mins to allow the sauce to thicken. Remove one of the steaks and pull a little off to see if it is tender. If not return to the pan and cook for a further 30 mins.
Have a good taste at this point and adjust the seasoning, and add a little more vinegar and sugar if you think it needs it. Return the steaks to the sauce, add the kidney beans and heat through for 10 mins, seasoning to taste. I serve the chilli in individual deep bowls and top with sour cream, fresh salsa (I assume you know how to make this? Get in contact if not and I will blog a recipe for you all) and coriander. Serve with a big bowl of steamed rice for people to help themselves.