Yes, I know everyone has a recipe they swear by, but years of making – and importantly, eating! – means mine is the best. True story.
I haven’t photographed all my ingredients, but the key to this is adding the right things at the right time and giving the chilli enough time for all the flavours time to absorb. Ideally, make it the day before you want to eat it. My brother is visiting tomorrow and I’m keeping sour cream and Doritos on hand for when we get back from the airport!
I add chocolate to it too, to give it a nice sweet flavour. It’s dark chocolate, which gives the chilli a nice smoothness and lets the cocoa really come through.
I also begin with chorizo, and add buffalo mozzarella in the end. These are all influences from around the world, rather than the purely Tex-Mex mince which we’re normally used to.
Makes enough for about 6 big bowls of chilli
5 spring onions
A box of baby plum tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 birds eye chilli
800g lean steak mince
A large glass of red wine
2 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika powder
2 tbsp lemon juice, plus zest if you’d like it
1 can kidney beans
1 pack buffalo mozzarella
Start by softening chopped spring onions with crushed garlic, the chili and salt. Add pepper here too and let it all get soft for about 5 minutes before adding thinly sliced chorizo.
Add the mince and let it brown thoroughly. This may take some time, and you’ll need to break it down to allow the mince to brown evenly.
Add the red wine after the meat has browned, and let it bubble and simmer for a little while. Now add the cumin and cayenne pepper.
Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the mince and, if needed, throw some tomato puree in as well. Let the flavours mingle for a few more minutes, until the tomatoes soften and the peel comes apart a little. At this point, add the lemon juice and zest, if using, and turn the heat down.
IIf you’d like to use chocolate, now is the time. Chocolate gives chilli a smooth texture and dark chocolate lends a nice bottom note of flavour. It’s part of the traditional Mexican way of making chilli, and I’ve seen recipes calling for cocoa powder instead. My only problem with cocoa powder is that you can’t snack on it as you cook!
Let all of this bubble up for a little while, constantly stirring the chilli, then taste it. If it needs any more salt or pepper, add it now – but none of the other flavours. If anything else is needed, add it later after the flavours intensify.
After the chilli has simmered for about 20 minutes, add torn up chunks of buffalo mozzarella and taste again. Now add any of the other flavours and spices you’d like.
Let it cool down and then refrigerate. It’s ready to eat about 2 hours after the dish has cooled down, but is even better the next day with Doritos and a special sour cream garnish – 200ml of sour cream with pepper and the zest of a lime.