This recipe is a lovely little twist on the classic
Chilli Con Carne – the spicy chilli sauce is combined with sweet roasted
peppers and rich, fragrant rice. In this case, to make the sauce, I used a can of
mixed beans in chilli sauce, because that was all Sainsbury’s had left! – but actually
I think the flavour was really good, so it’s up to you whether you go for the
chilli beans or the straightforward ones (just make sure you don’t get a ‘bean
salad’ with vinaigrette). If you’re a vegetarian, I reckon this dish would
still be delicious with plenty of beans and no mince.
Smoked paprika (you can use the ordinary stuff, but the
smoked version is so full of fantastic flavour that it’s well worth investing
1 and a half cans of chopped tomatoes
2 large red peppers, preferably ones that are the right
shape to stand up on their own
Makes enough to
fill two peppers, with a bit left over for seconds.
If you can, it’s best to start the chilli sauce early so
that it has time to simmer and deepen in flavour - about two hours before you
want to serve would be best, but obviously you can adjust to whatever time you’ve
got available. Finely dice the onion and get it sizzling in a splash of oil (I’ve
put olive oil on my ingredients list, since that’s what most people tend to
have, but I’ve started buying Sunolive, a combination of olive oil and
sunflower oil, which is supposed to be a bit better for you).
Once the onions have softened and turned golden brown,
sprinkle generously with smoked paprika and stir through, then add the beans
(if they’re not in a sauce already, remember to rinse them, as normally plain
beans are preserved in brine which will make your sauce very salty) and the red
wine. Turn the heat up so that it sizzles – you want all the alcohol to fry off
so that you’re just left with the lovely essence of the wine.
Once most of the liquid has disappeared, add the mince
and stir until it loses its pink colour, then pour in the chopped tomatoes,
season well and leave the sauce to bubble on a low heat.
When you’ve got about half an hour left before you want
to serve up, get started on the rice - for my foolproof fluffy rice method,
check out the How To page. When you reach the second stage (where the rice is
steaming in the sieve), it’s time to prepare the peppers. Preheat the oven to
about 200˚C, then slice the tops off the peppers, pull out the seeds and spoon
in the chilli sauce. Top with a little grated cheese and place on a baking tray
in the oven – this is just to soften up the pepper so there’s no need to time
it, just leave them in there until the rice is finished.
To finish off the rice, once it’s cooked through, add a
couple of knobs of butter, a generous sprinkle of cumin and a pinch of salt,
and stir through. Have a taste to check the flavours are nicely balanced, then
serve up a big spoonful of deliciously scented rice and top with a roasted
pepper. Sprinkle with grated cheese and, if you fancy, garnish with a spoonful
of crème fraiche or soured cream. Enjoy!