Chocolate Chilli Con Carne

Chocolate Chilli - final 1

It’s been a cold, wet and breezy week and this weekend isn’t due to be much better. So I’m battening down the hatches in the kitchen. I’ve recently taken delivery of the latest Kitchen Nomad box which was chock full of Mexican goodies including some long sought after tortilla flour and a range of different chillies. What I’ve made with it though is in no way authentic Mexican including as it does a distinctly British ingredient – a bottle of double chocolate stout.

This is the Heathcliff of chilli con carnes – a dark, brooding slightly bitter version that benefits from a long, slow cooking time and tastes even better the next day. Serves 4.
Chocolate Chilli - stout
Brown 500g of minced beef in an oven proof pan and set to one side.
Add some oil to the pan and soften one finely chopped onion til golden.
Return the mince to the pan along with 2 chopped dried arbol chillies, 1 tsp dried chilli ancho, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp Mexican oregano, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses and 1 tbsp of tomato purée.
Cook for a couple of minutes before adding a tin of chopped tomatoes and a 500ml bottle of double chocolate stout.

Chocolate Chilli - final 2

Bring to the boil and cook in the oven at 140C for 2 hours. Add a tin of kidney beans (along with 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke if you have it) and cook for a further 30min. It won’t come to any harm if left for longer. Enjoy its dark smoky flavour with rice.


Spicy Lamb Empanadas

Spiced Lamb Empanadas

I’ve complained on my blog before about how difficult it can be to find many speciality ingredients where I live with many herbs and spices requiring a special outing. I love trying out food from across the globe and it’s so frustrating to find that the key ingredients I need are nowhere to be found.

But now I may have the answer in the form of Kitchen Nomad and their monthly box scheme. The idea is that you subscribe and each month they send you a food parcel with various ingredients from difference areas of the world along with recipe cards. I think it’s a brilliant idea – not only do I get forced out of my culinary comfort zone and get to try things I’d never have thought of cooking, I also get those hard to find ingredients. So it was with a great deal of excitment that I opened my first box and found it was the Lebanon!

kitchen nomad - box

The box is filled with various spice mixes including a version of Lebanese Allspice that I had never even heard of before let alone used, pomegranate molasses, za’tar, tahini and a few other things. With it were a number of different recipe cards and the first one I’ve made is the spiced lamb flatbread. Whilst the bread itself wasn’t anything special the lamb topping was something else! Spicy with a subtle sweet undertone from the molasses and a definite kick from the chilli flakes. I’d made the full amount of lamb and so I left half of it in the fridge to turn into little empanadas the next day.

I used the Dan Lepard recipe I’ve used previously but this time I left out the cumin and replaced it with a teaspoon of the Lebanese Allspice. The flour smelled amazing – really fragrant. I could have just sat and inhaled it happily!

Spiced Lamb Empanadas - lamb

I then fried the lamb mix until cooked and left it to cool. The pastry was then rolled out and cut into 10cm circles. I rested them for about 5 minutes and then gave them another quick roll to thin them out a bit more before putting 2 teaspoons of the lamb mix onto them and sealing with water.

Spiced lamb empanadas - pre bake

You can freeze them at this stage (you just defrost before baking). I baked them for 20 min at 180C and they were delicious! Crispy fragrant pastry stuffed with tangy, spicy lamb. And just as nice eaten cold the next day. Next time I’ll turn the full lamb mix into these as they were a definite triumph! I look forward to seeing what the September box brings.