November 5, 2015 — Family Food
‘… This is a great family recipe we should all know. The perfect solution to use up leftover meat or spicing up basic sausages… the vegetarian version is just as good.’
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400-600g cheap supermarket sausages – or 400g-600g minced meat (beef, pork, lamb, turkey) cut fresh or left over chicken, pork or lamb into small pieces
1 large red or white onion chopped
1 stick celery chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 red or green chilli – more to taste. De-seed and chop
1 tbs red wine vinegar (optional)
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin kidney beans
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp un-smoked paprika (optional)
½ stick cinnamon (optional)
300ml chicken stock
1 tbs dried oregano
2 bay leaves
½ tsp sugar
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A traditional Mexican recipe
Or is it? My Diana Kennedy cookbook, The Art of Mexican Cooking does not list a recipe for chilli, an inauspicious fact given she is regarded as the ultimate authority on authentic Mexican cooking. Chilli is probably a Tex-Mex homogenisation of classic Mexican ingredients and spices – the outcome of which, has been widely adapted and planted in many cuisines around the world. It exists in endless themes and variations, sparking debates about what constitutes a real chilli: does it includes beans with meat or meat without beans or just beans? The answer is that it doesn’t matter – either is good. In fact, it is no doubt possible to cook-up any ingredients in a pan, add some chilli seasoning and call it chilli.
Cheap as chips
I had a pack of ‘economic’ supermarket sausages that needed cooking. They make an acceptable basic sausage but I decided to use the sausage meat in the chilli. Meanwhile, we’d been to the Pick-Your-Own farm and brought back a bag of sweetcorn (45p/ear). It occurred that the other ingredients were also not very expensive. I did a quick calculation: without store cupboard herbs and spices, this nutritious and filling dinner can be made for around £3/person (when cooking for four). We had some leftover (for a couple of lunches), so make that £2/person…
Minced meat of any type can be used. Leftover meat from a roast or ragu is also good. Judge the quantities for the number of people. This is easily made vegetarian by omitting meat and substituting half a tin of beans person (serve with lots of grated cheese).
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An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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