Jamie Oliver thunders on with another lightning-quick meal, this time turning his attention to chilli con carne. I’m no stranger to rapid chilli but this is a more hearty and balanced version than mine. This chilli dinner is from Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals.
The genius here is to disassemble chilli con carne’s parts (spiced meat, cumin, beans, tomatoey sauce) and cook each part separately. This way you get a “best of” chilli with all the things you love but in a fraction of the time.
I departed from Jamie’s recipe slightly – he used bulgar wheat where I went for regular basmati rice but the effect and timing is the same. I also didn’t have a lemon to hand so used a little more lime in the rice. He also grilled some chilli peppers as a garnish but they’re really not my thing so left them out. Other than that it’s exactly as is, and it’s extremely tasty. At 14 minutes to crank out it wasn’t too demanding on my time either! I’m especially a fan of blitzing a jar of peppers with passata to make a sauce base which I’m definitely going to repurpose in other recipes for a quick fix.
Chilli con carne meatballs (serves 4):
For the rice:
1 mug basmati rice
1 cinnamon stick
For the meatballs:
400g beef mince
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 small jar peppers
4 spring onions
Bunch of coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tin kidney beans
1 pinch cumin seeds
- For the rice, put the basmati rice with twice the quantity of boiling water into a lidded saucepan over a medium heat, along with half the lime and the cinnamon. Stir often while you get on with everything else.
- Combine the mince and garam masala with some salt and pepper and divide into 16 meatballs. Get them into a frying pan over a hot heat with a little oil, tossing regularly.
- Get another frying pan super-hot. In a liquidizer blitz the peppers, half the spring onions, paprika, half the coriander and passata to a smooth sauce and add this to the pan.
- Add the kidney beans and cumin seeds to the meatball pan. Once the meatballs are browned on all sides remove while you continue to heat the beans. Once the rice is cooked plate with the meatballs, sauce and beans, and garnish with the remaining coriander and sliced spring onions. Serve with creme fraiche or natural yoghurt if you like, and the lime wedges on the side.
This recipe is adapted from one of Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals. If you’ve browsed around this blog in the last couple of months, you’ll have noticed that I’ve gone through quite a lot of them, and they’ve all been pretty fantastic. This is the first one that felt like a lot of fuss for okay results. I’m sure it could be simplified to a more straight-forward stir fry style recipe. I’ll be back with this one.
Chicken skewers, satay sauce and noodle salad (serves 2):
For the satay sauce:
½ a bunch of fresh coriander
A few slices of red chilli
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon tahini
Zest and juice of 1 lime
For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts, diced
For the noodles:
1 nest per person
50g unsalted cashews
½ red onion
½ bunch fresh coriander
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish suace
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
More fresh coriander
2 little gem lettuces, shredded
- Get a grill on screaming hot. Whizz together all the satay sauce ingredients in a food processor. Taste and check – more lime? More soy?
- Skewer the chicken breasts and baste with half the satay sauce. Drizzle with olive oil and pop under the grill for 10 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through. When you stop to turn them over, drizzle over the honey.
- Put the noodles in a bowl, pour boiling water over and cover for 5 minutes. Bash the cashew nuts to pieces and add to a frying pan and heat gently – make sure they don’t burn.
- Peel the red onion and pulse with coriander. Mix with the soy, lime juice, sesame oil and fish sauce. Taste and check for seasoning. By this time the noodles are probably ready drain, wash them under cold water and toss with the red onion salad.
- Back to the cashews, adding honey and sesame seeds to coat. Once golden, tip into the bowl with noodles and combine well.
- Serve the skewers on top of the noodle salad with lettuce, more coriander and the remaining satay to dip.
Do you like recipes that you can knock out in 20 minutes after work? Me too. This is not one of those recipes. The flavours here are complimentary to many things but particularly food with a Mediterranean angle. Great on chicken, great on fish… and of course you can vary it according to what’s knocking about threatening to go off.
Lemon, olive and herb rub:
A couple of handfuls of olives
Peel of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 orange
Large handful of rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 100°C. Lay everything out on a baking tray in one layer and pop it in.
- You’re waiting for everything to turn paper dry – between 1½ - 2 hours. Put everything aside to cool.
- Blitz to a fine powder and store in an airtight tub.
key lime pie
They get an awful lot of stick, but apart from the odd over-produced segment the Hairy Bikers collate an awful lot of good recipes. And always make it look dead easy. Their recent series Mums Know Best, an attempt to ensure family recipes stay in the loop, had a great selection of dishes framed with a gaudily awful village fete theme. Once recipe really made me sit up though – a Key Lime Pie but with the crucial twist of an Oreo biscuit base.
Oreos aren’t that famous over here although they’re getting there. I went to America in 1987 and was dazzled by this not-too-sweet-cousin-of-Bourbon, and was jumping up and down with glee when the pound shop (of all places) got a load in 1998. I nearly bought the whole store supply. I’m still a big fan so using them as a base instead of borin’ old digestives meant I had to try it out. It breaks down to an Oreo base, a limey egg custard filling and a dense baked meringue topping.
I’d read on this blog that the filling could be quite tart, so I took heed and tasted before baking and added a dash of sugar as required. I think even without it wouldn’t be too sour so watch for the strength of the limes you buy. Out of the oven it was delight though: crisp, fluffy meringue; tart, citrussy filling and a moist, rich dark biscuit base. It was a real sweet-tooth’s joy and I’ll certainly bring it out again.
The Hairy Bikers’ original recipe can be found here, which curiously omits it’s USP – the Oreo! Product placement rules perhaps?
Key Lime Pie:
154g Oreo biscuits, crushed
80g butter, melted
4 medium eggs, separated
1 tin condensed milk
80g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
- Mix the biscuits and butter together thoroughly and press into a cake tin. Leave in the fridge to harden while you do everything else.
- Whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy, then add the lime zest, the juice and the condensed milk. Whisk a little more to loosen and combine, then pour this on top of the biscuit.
- Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar, vanilla and cream of tartar. Continue whisking until it reaches firm peaks.
- Spoon the egg white on top of the pie and use a spoon or fork to raise ribbons on the surface. Chuck in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool and refrigerate until needed – the flavours are much better cold.