When I get a bit stressed out I start to make big batches of food to freeze. Cooking itself really relaxes me, all that chopping is pretty meditative and I love messing about in the spice cupboard. I don’t know if in a past life I was brought up when there was a war on (would explain my love for Glenn Miller, hoarding and thriftiness) but there’s something inherently reassuring about having stocks of wholesome food in the cupboard or freezer.
This chilli isn’t a deeply authentic Mexican dish, it’s more like a gussied-up version of something your mum might make. I use finely chopped chicken liver to give it depth and creaminess, there’s a ton of veg in it too so it’s fairly healthy. If you’ve never used chicken livers before this is a really good recipe to start, I’m a liver lover but even if you’re not so keen you’ll still love this. I’d usually use brown rice making it even healthier but we were out hence the white rice in the pic. The quantities I give should make about 10-12 portions depending on your appetite.
Chicken Liver Chilli – Ingredients
700gr minced beef
225gr chicken liver
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 shallots, chopped finely
2 red onions, chopped finely
2 lg handfuls of mushrooms, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
4 carrots, cut into small quarters
3 peppers, chopped
3 tins of toms
1/2 tube of puree
3 chilli peppers, minced
some red wine if you have it
90% caocao solids chocolate
Chuck your garlic, onions and shallots in the pan and fry gently with the cumin seeds. If you can add a little toasted sesame oil at this stage do, it helps with the earthiness. Add the mince, brown slightly and then add the chopped liver and stir until cooked. At this point put in the mushrooms and let them absorb the juices, then you want to add the celery and carrot. The carrot needs to be finely chopped so it all sort of starts to melt together.
Chuck in all the spices and herbs and seasoning (apart from wine and choc) at this point, but you’ll need to keep tasting throughout the cooking process to check the toms aren’t too acidic and it’s spicy enough. If you can be bothered it’s really nice to flame your peppers over a gas burner until the skin goes black, this adds a nice bit of smokiness. Rub the charred skin off and chop into chunks, chuck in with the puree and when they’ve fried off a bit add in the tomatoes and wine.
Keep this bubbling away for a good while, I added a glug of cream just to counteract the sharp tomatoes, I also added a beef stock cube and about half a bar of 90% chocolate that I had in the cupboard.
I can’t get enough flavours and seasoning so I make lime rice to go with it. While the chilli is cooking get some rice on the boil, salt the water and chuck in one or two limes, sliced. The juice and rind will give it a nice fresh flavour, stir through some chopped coriander at the end.
Serve with soured yoghurt, grated cheese and more coriander. I like to add some sliced avocado on the side, truly this is the food of champs.
Isabelle O'Carroll: I’m a writer, content designer and consultant with 11+ years’ experience across fashion, food and drink and the arts.