Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chilli con carne - from Happy Days

For a while, Happy Days with the Naked Chef was my favourite of Jamie's early books; as soon as I got it (my brother actually bought it for me, when it came out, from the book people), I bonded with it. The baked onions with cheese and cream are divine, as are the roasted winter vegetables and the parsnip and pancetta tagliatelle. This is the book where Jamie introduces his chicken-in-a-bag (roasted in the oven) and unveils more dried pasta dishes than in the previous books. The chilli, though, is an ultimate chilli recipe, for me, anyway. For a while we ate it almost every week; it is a useful dish to make ahead and serves as a tasty, easy, weeknight dinner if you do cook it in advance. It's also versatile - you can team it with rice or with bread and salad, as Jamie suggests, or with flour tortillas, guacamole and sour cream. Oh, and it has tinned kidney beans in it, so you don't have to remember to soak the beans. Bonus. This chilli is one of my failsafe recipes of all time; I don't need the recipe now, I make it on autopilot. The other day we both craved it so I made it again - for the first time in months and months. It won't be months before I make it again.

Everyone knows how to make chilli. This one isn't authentic, one presumes, but I've never been all that bothered about authentic, particularly for a dish of uncertain origins like this one. Jamie's version involves:
- blitzing onion and garlic in a food processor and gently frying until soft
- adding minced beef, powdered cumin and chilli powder, a chopped fresh red chilli (deseeded), 2 tins chopped tomatoes, a wineglass of water, a cinnamon stick, and 200g sundried tomatoes in oil, blitzed with some of their oil to make a paste, and simmering with greaseproof paper and a lid on the pan for 1 hour,
then adding 2 drained tins kidney beans and simmering for a further 30 minutes.

I like the addition of the sundried tomatoes - when I've been too lazy to use my Magimix, I've chopped the onion and garlic and then used sundried tomato paste, but it honestly isn't the same, not really. This chilli isn't super-hot; it isn't exceptionally different; it's just really nice. Proof of which lies in my having cooked it over and over again for the last five years.

Chilli, wrapped in tortillas, guacamole (Simon's speciality) on top and sour cream alongside.

This was our second Mexican meal recently. The first was chicken fajitas, with peppers and onions and garlic, guacamole, sour cream, grated Cheddar. OK so again inauthentic, but again I plead guilty (I do eat proper Mexican food, too).


In other news, in case anyone is interested, term ends tomorrow. Happy days indeed. Sadly contrary to popular belief, this does not mean I'm officially on holiday as of tomorrow evening, but it does mean that the pace can drop and the students go away. I might even be able to plan some Easter baking!

36 comments:

Kelly-Jane said...

Happy Days is my Favourite Jamie book :)

Your chilli meal looks really good, a little bit of everything mmm! Rachel Allen calls chilli in tortillas 'Rodeo Wraps' so I now think of these as that! A chilli wimp like me would never manage authentic hot Mexican food ;)

I used to cook a lot for Happy Days too, I have made this chilli and it was good. It's this chicken and fish in a bag dishes I remember especially though. The one with the white beans, chicken and cream - mmmmm! Jamie's Dad's chicken in puff pastry too.

Time for a revival!

Hope that you enjoy some calm days for a while now!

KJxx

charlotte said...

Oooh, I love chilli. I tone down the chillies and give it to my children. They love it, but recently told me that we've been eating too much of it so I'm resting that recipe for a bit. I could eat it once a week too.

Hope the break does mean you get some time off. I'd love to see which baked goods come out of Kathryn's Kitchen.

Freya and Paul said...

I thought that it was chilli from the show Happy Days when I first read the headline! I bet Fonzie makes better chilli than Jamie Oliver too....
The fajitas look really good though and who cares if they're authentic when they taste good??

Kathryn said...

Hi KJ, definitely time for a Happy Days revival! I haven't tried the chicken in puff pastry - maybe I will.

Charlotte, do you find that you cook something a lot for a while and then move on to something else and forget about it? I kept doing that (before Cook with Jamie) and it's great to rediscover forgotten old favourites.

Freya, that's funny!!! I used to like Happy Days...

Kathryn x

Bells&Jane said...

how good does that look? Yes Jamie and Nigella both seem to go a lot for the blitzing of onions. I remember reading Nigella saying she didn't like slippery little slivers of onion in her dishes. I hvae to say, sometimes I agree.

Gravy Queen said...

That looks bloody gorgeous mate. Well done...
xxx

GQ said...

Oerrr what time span are we on here. Am I in Dr Whos tardis ??????????????????

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Ehram said...

I love chilli con carne, it ranges from simple to complicated and is a meal for all occasions. I've even whipped it up for Christmas meals - shortly after a move when there was litterally nothing else in the house. And it went down like a lead zeppelin.

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