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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Dark Chocolate Chilli Con Carne with Buttermilk Cornbread

This is a relatively easy recipe that it packs so much flavour and texture it's really worth making a big batch and freezing a few portions. The flavours becomes more intense after a few days. I love making a batch of Chilli Con Carne and freeze some for whenever I am too lazy to cook. The dark chocolate gives it more depth and the toasted dried chillies used in the chilli paste will bring some smokiness into the mix.

For Chilli Con Carne:

1kg topside mince
4 cans of of beans - I used 2 cans of kidney beans, 1 can pinto, 1 can mixed
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 tbsp canola oil
2 chopped green capsicums
2 cans peeled tomatoes
2 diced red onions
150gm  quality dark chocolate
1 tsp thyme

Chilli paste:
4-6 large dried chillies

2 red chillies
2 green chillies (optional)
2 tsp water

1. Toast the chillis on a medium hot non-stick pan until a little burnt.
2. Chuck all the chillies and blitz it with 2 tsp water to form a paste. Set aside to be used later.

To cook the Chilli Con Carne:

1. Saute the diced onions and add in mince to brown. Add in chopped carrots and celery
2. Once the carrots are tender add in the beans and chilli paste and peeled tomatoes and let it simmer for a bit. Season with salt and pepper and then add in the dark chocolate. If you find the chilli con carne is a bit too spicy for your liking, you can add more dark chocolate. This will tone down the heat and add the depth of the flavour.  Let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes and remove from the stove.

Buttermilk Cornbread:

100gm softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 cup cornmeal / polenta
2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

1.Preheat oven at 180c. Grease a shallow 8 or 9 inch pan
2.Melt butter in microwave for 30 secs. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your preference how hot your oven gets. I left mine in for 40 minutes because I like the golden crust. Poke with a skewer and see if it comes out clean. Leave it to cool for a few minutes before cutting into squares.

I have used this recipe a few times and I love how easy and tasty it turns out to be. I have used fairly fine grounded cornmeal/ polenta but on the few occasions I have used coarse cornmeal/ polenta and it works fine. I like both. The coarseness gives it more bite and the finer version is very smooth and moist.
I had 4 twin foetus eggs in my batter!  What are the chances??

This recipe will easily yield 4 generous portions. You can cut the cornbread in small squares and heat up in the microwave the next day or lightly grill on a sandwich press and it will be great.

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