Orkney Buffalo chilli, yee-haa!

It’s chilli time! More specifically, it’s Orkney Buffalo chilli time! I can get away with chilli in August (only just August), can’t I? In my mind it’s definitely an all year round dish. And, in the event chilli is not considered appropriate at this time of year, to strengthen my case, I will mention there has been a change in the air up here lately. It’s still got the potential to be warm during the day (and we’ve had some real scorchers lately) but the evenings and mornings (and the days) are definitely cooler. That’s it, better pack away the summer wardrobe. Well, I use the term ‘summer’ wardrobe loosely. I’ve not had a true summer wardrobe for some years now. My warm weather clothing consists of lightweight cardigans and thinner jumpers. Forget about vests and shorts. Don’t be ridiculous.

‘All year round’ chilli is a firm favourite in our house. It’s one of my favourite dishes and The Husband eats whatever I put in front of him, so yeah, a favourite in our house. I wasn’t quite expecting this but the buffalo elevated my chilli from super (because it’s pretty darn good to start with) to super awesome. I used braising steak cut into cubes instead of mince. The meat was so delicious and meltingly tender. We had to exercise some restraint otherwise there wouldn’t have been any for leftovers to make the next day better.

I used Nigella’s ‘Choc chip chilli’ as a base, which is an excellent start, and then I made it my own. This is kind of my ‘get out of jail free’ card because I made it up as I went along and then forgot to write it down. When I’m making chilli I tend to add things in quantities that feel right. I don’t want it to be too wet so I won’t swirl the whole tomato can out with water and I don’t want to be in pain for the whole meal so I won’t add 2 chillis but I will add one depending on how hot they are. You know better than anyone what your chilli threshold is so just add what you feel like. And if someone you’re cooking for likes it hotter you just tell ‘em tough luck!  You’re in charge and hand them a bottle of chilli sauce. I like to add a bit of chocolate (the best) or cocoa but I will advise not to reach for the hot chocolate in error (hmmm, that’s odd, why does it taste so sweet?). And I won’t cook it for 3 hours because dammit I’m hungry!! And so, without further ado…….

My super awesome Orkney Buffalo chilli
Serves 4 sensible portions or 2 greedy portions with leftovers for one

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 – 2 red chillies with or without seeds at your discretion, finely chopped
3 cardamom pods, seeds removed
1 – 2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Dried chilli flakes at your discretion
100g chorizo, cubed
500g Orkney buffalo braising steak, cut into 1 – 2 cm cubes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 can kidney beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 green peppers, deseeded, cut into chunks
Water rinsed from tomato can at your discretion
30g dark chocolate chips or chopped (I’ll probably put a bit more in next time…)
Salt

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion, chilli and garlic until soft. Add the cardamom seeds and spices. Stir together then add the chorizo. Fry for a minute or two then add the cubed steak, turning the cubes until they brown. Stir in the tomato puree then add the kidney beans, chopped tomatoes and green pepper. Add enough water to loosen the mixture and bring to the boil. Stir in the chocolate, and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, put the lid on and then bubble away on a low heat until the sauce has thickened: usually an hour or so. Keep checking back and add a little more water if it starts to stick. Serve with your favourite chilli accompaniments: rice or jacket potato, salsa, guacamole, soured cream and tortilla chips.

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