Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Salsa


I know it's not winter but I just had a fancy for making a REALLY GOOD chilli - not the mince-and-kidney-bean-tuesday-night-tea-variety, so I looked out this recipe and thought I'd share it with you in case you either didn't know it or had forgotten it.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.

8 oz (225 g) dried black beans
1 oz (25 g) fresh coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 green chillies, de-seeded and chopped small
1 lb (450 g) braising steak, cut into very small pieces
1 rounded tablespoon plain flour
2 x 14 oz (400 g) tins chopped tomatoes
1 large red pepper
juice ½ lime
For the avocado salsa:
1 ripe, firm avocado
2 large, firm tomatoes
½ small red onion, finely chopped
juice ½ lime
a few drops Tabasco sauce
salt and freshly milled black pepper
To serve:
4 tablespoons crème fraîche

Either pre-soak the beans overnight or start this recipe 3 hours ahead of time and begin by placing the beans in a large saucepan, covering them with cold water and bringing them up to boiling point and boiling for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off and let them soak for 3 hours. Towards the end of the soaking time, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C). Strip the leaves off the coriander stalks into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and place them in the fridge. Then chop the coriander stalks very finely indeed.

After that, take the casserole, heat half the oil in it and cook the onions, garlic, coriander stalks and chillies gently for about 5 minutes. Then transfer them to a plate, spoon in the rest of the oil, turn the heat up high, add about a third of the beef and brown it well, keeping it on the move. Then remove it and brown the rest in 2 batches. Now return everything to the casserole and sprinkle in the flour, stir it in to soak up the juices, then add the drained beans, followed by the tomatoes. Stir well and bring it up to simmering point. Don't add any salt at this stage – just put the lid on and transfer the casserole to the oven to cook for an initial 1½ hours.

Towards the end of that time, de-seed and chop the pepper into smallish pieces. Then, when the time is up, stir the pepper in to join the meat and beans. Put the lid back on and give it a further 30 minutes' cooking. While the meat finishes cooking, make the salsa. Skin the tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them, then leaving for exactly 1 minute before draining and slipping theskins off when they're cool enough to handle. Then cut each tomato in half and, holding each half over a saucer, squeeze gently to extract the seeds. Now chop the tomato flesh as finely as possible.

Next, halve the avocado, remove the stone, cut each half into 4 and peel off the skin. Chop the avocado into minutely small dice, and do the same with the onion. Finally, combine everything together in a bowl, adding seasoning, the juice of half the lime, half the reserved coriander, chopped, and a few drops of Tabasco. Before serving the chilli, add salt, tasting as you add. Then stir in the rest of the coriander leaves and the juice of half the lime. I like to serve this chilli with some plain brown basmati rice and let people help themselves to the crème fraîche.


Classic Burger Recipe


Serves: 8


  • 1kg minced steak (it is best not to use lean mince as fat will help to keep the burgers moist)

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 4tbsp fine bread crumbs

  • 1egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 red chilli,finely chopped

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1tsp mustard power or mustard

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed



Place the beef in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix it all together until just combined. This is best done by hand but don't over-work the mixture or you'll get a tough burger.

Wet your hands then shape the mixture into burgers by flattening the mixture in your hand about 2cm or 1 inch thick and smoothing he edges.

The burgers can now be cooked either on a griddle pan, non-stick frying pan with a bit of oil, or even a barbeque. Make sure you pre-heat the fying pan, griddle pan or barbeque to a medium heat.

Cook the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, turning them once only.

And that is the Classic Burger Recipe.  You can serve the burgers in buns with salad. Enjoy...

Irish Beef Stew


Hearty and wholesome, Rachel Allen's slow-cooked beef stew is the ultimate taste of Ireland. And all the better for being cooked in one of our lovely Le Creuset pots!

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  • 1½kg/3lb 5oz stewing beef, cut into cubes

  • 175g/6oz streaky bacon

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 12 baby onions, peeled

  • 18 button mushrooms, left whole

  • 3 carrots, cut into quarters or 12 baby carrots, scrubbed and left whole

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

  • 10 cloves of garlic, crushed and grated

  • 425ml/15fl oz red wine

  • 425ml/15fl oz chicken or beef stock

For the roux
  • 50g/2oz butter

  • 50g/1¾oz flour

Preparation method

  1. Brown the beef and bacon in the olive oil in a hot casserole or heavy saucepan.

  2. Remove the meat and toss in the onions, mushrooms and carrots, one ingredient at a time, seasoning each time.

  3. Place these back in the casserole, along with the herbs and garlic.

  4. Cover with red wine and stock and simmer for one hour or until the meat and vegetables are cooked.

  5. To make the roux, in a separate pan melt the butter, add the flour and cook for two minutes.

  6. When the stew is cooked, remove the meat and vegetables.

  7. Bring the remaining liquid to the boil and add one tbsp of roux.

  8. Whisk the mixture until the roux is broken up and the juices have thickened, allowing to boil.

  9. Replace the meat and vegetables, and taste for seasoning.

  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with champ.


Lupe Pinto's Famous Chilli con Carne

chile1This recipe is from the fantastic Lupe Pinto's - a superb import shop based in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Okay,not dead handy for Knaresborough, but they are definitely worth a visit when in either city and you can buy a lot of their stuff online.

They also have a great recipe book - Two Cooks and a Suitcase - available from the online shop where they also always have a few good recipes.




500g beef chunks or steak mince

1 chorizo, diced

2 medium onions (chopped)

1 garlic clove (minced)

200g tin of red peppers (pureed or chopped fine)

400g tin of tomatoes

1/2 tsp cumin

4 chipotle chillies in adobe sauce

500g tin of black beans

Salt and Pepper to taste


Saute the onions and garlic for 5 mins. Add the beef and chorizo and brown well on high for 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, peppers, spices and chipotles, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary.

Add black beans and simmer until meat is tender.

Season and serve with rice, tortillas and sour cream.



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