Search my blog...

Friday, 7 June 2013

Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Salsa

Since I was young I have never been a fan of kidney beans (nor real kidney/liver, yuck!) therefore I never really liked chilli con carne.  Its not that I don't like spicy food, because I do, but it was just something about the texture of the mince, the slight heat of the chilli and those horrible red beans.  However recently a friend of mine invited me round for dinner and she cooked Delia Smiths' Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Salsa.  At first I was worried I would not like it due to the beans, but I gave it a go and have never looked back since.  This is one of the best chilli recipes I have ever eaten.  Gone was the horrible mince and instead replaced with small chunks of beef, as tender as can be, those kidney beans where still there but I actually found I liked them if eaten all together.

What makes this dish so special is the extras...a bowl of plain white rice, topped with an ample serving of chilli, topped with a good spoonful of creme fraîche, finally followed by the cold avocado salsa.  There is something fantastic about the hot chilli mixed with the smooth cool creme fraîche and salsa that makes this dish perfect.

The chilli itself freezes perfectly and I often freeze portions and simply microwave from frozen for 8 minutes.  Of course you can't freeze the salsa but even if you dont have the avocado I often chop up a single tomato, red onion, salt and lime and use that instead. Very worst case, just chop up some fridge cold tomatoes, you basically just need something cool to put on top of the hot chilli.

I have slightly changed some of the ingredients for ease of cooking, feel free to read the actual version here.  All I have done however is speed up the prep time by using tinned kidney beans instead of the black beans and replaced the real chilli with chilli flakes.  Italics are my additions, the rest is totally Delia, I have simply copied it from her website.

Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Salsa
By Delia Smith

Serves 4-6

1 tin of kidney beans
1 oz (25 g) fresh coriander (one packet from the supermarket)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp Red Chilli Flakes (or as much as you dare)
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 (I actually use half cherry tomatoes and leave skins on)
½ small red onion, finely chopped
juice ½ lime
salt and freshly milled black pepper

To serve:
4 tablespoons crème fraîche (or plain yogurt or  sour cream, both work well)

You will also need a 4 pint (2.25 litre) flameproof casserole with a well-fitting lid.  This is also possible in a slow cooker however you must still brown the meat etc before leaving to cook for the same times stated for the oven.

Pre-heat the oven to 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 chilli flakes 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. (expect the bottom of your pan to blacken as the heat is high!)

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 the skins 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.  (or I just use half cherry tomatoes with skin on for ease and speed)

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. 

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 rice and let people help themselves to the crème fraîche & salsa.