This recipe was adapted from a fine UK chef called Simon Hopkinson, which we make in my family’s brasserie. In my opinion, this chilli is as good as it gets!
The chilli powder is not made from crushed chillies, neither cayenne. Rather it’s a chilli spice mix made by Schwartz brand, available in either hot or mild. As fresh jalapeños are also added later on, you may wish to use a milder powder, depending on your personal heat threshold. If you can’t find jalapeños, then any other large green chillies may be substituted, but they will not have the lovely, almost fruity flavour of the delicious jalapeño.
Serves Eleven - originally this was for World Cup, where only bowl food was necessary when watching the telly.
5 oz / 150g bacon lardons
3 to 4 tablespoons beef dripping or olive oil
14 oz / 400g belly pork, cut into half-inch / 1 cm cubes. Leave the rind intact if you wish for more flavour and richness.
3 lbs / 1.5 Kg lean beef, also cut into half-inch / 1 cm cubes
8 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped - or use a garlic press
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 packet chilli spice mix powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 x 14 oz /400g cans chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 litre beef stock - or water, at a pinch
4 x 14 oz /400g tins red kidney beans, drained
4 to 5 jalapeño chillies, de-seeded depending on your heat threshold, roughly chopped.
Sour cream and finely sliced spring onions
Pre-heat the oven to 340 oF / 170 oC/ gas mark 3
Using a very large, heavy-based cooking pot (like a Le Creuset), heat the dripping or oil and fry the lardons until golden and crisp. Remove using a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate.
Lightly salt the pork and then fry this in the bacon-flavoured fat until thoroughly browned. Again, remove this with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Give the beef exactly the same treatment - probably browned in two batches - and add to the bowl containing the pork.
Now add the onions and garlic to the pot and sweat until just coloured, but not brown.
Stir in the chilli powder, cumin and vinegar, and allow to gently cook for a few minutes to bring out their flavour, and also reduce the vinegar until almost completely evaporated. Tip in the tomatoes and also stir in the oregano.
Simmer for 15 minutes until the tomatoes have thickened somewhat, before pouring in the beef stock (or water).
Now add the reserved pork and beef including any juices that have collected in the bottom of the bowl, bring the entire assembly to a gentle simmer, cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then place in the oven, without the lid allow to cook for about an hour and a half. Stir from time to time. Note: the stew will reduce and thicken while cooking, and also throw up a layer of fat on the surface. This may be removed with several sheets of kitchen paper, once removed from the oven.
To complete the dish, stir in the kidney beans and jalapeños. Check for seasoning and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Finally, if you find that the chilli con carne is too watery, place on a low heat and allow it to reduce until thick and suitable smooth.
I particularly favour serving the chilli in deep bowls, and with a generous spoonful of sour cream and spring onions on top of each. Hand around thick slices of garlic bread, too, if you wish, but no fiddly rice or potatoes. And eat with a spoon.