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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Belfast Chilli

When I visit my brothers in Florida they always ask me to make "Irish Lasagne", by which they mean the Lasagne they grew up with, not the filthy American version which uses cottage cheese instead of cheese sauce. My lasagne is a thing of beauty, even if I do say so myself. My chilli is not half bad either, though again not terrifically authentic. But as my brothers will tell you, that's not the point. I'll commit the lasagne to writing at some point, I promise. This is easier to write up and to cook.

250g streaky, unsmoked bacon, chopped
250g Irish mushrooms, sliced
700g lean mince beef
4 onions, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Oxo cube
Glass of red wine
3 peppers (the roasted, bottled ones are best), chopped
Dried thyme
Bay leaf
500ml passata
1-2 tbs tomato purée
Tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp Harissa paste
 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

 Dry fry the bacon on the highest heat until brown and crispy. This will take about 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add the mushrooms to the hot oil left behind. You shouldn't need any more oil. Fry the mushrooms till browned and caramelised, again about 20 minutes. Put the mushrooms and bacon in a heavy casserole. Dry fry the mince on a high heat and when cooked through, drain it in a colander while you fry the onion until translucent on a medium heat. Now throw everything into the casserole and bring to the boil, then simmer for 2-4 hours. Best eaten the next day and often improved with a few tsp of garam masala or similar at the end.

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