I think there's nothing better than tucking into a satisfying and hearty bowl of cowboy chili on a raw New Year's Day. It just seems so right. After all that Christmas over-indulgence, you want something simple, yet, if you're greedy like me, a limp bit of lettuce ain't going to pass muster. You're also probably feeling a trifle frazzled after the New Year's Eve revels.
Regrettably, Chili con carne is often nothing more than stewed mince, kidney beans and a bit of chili powder. Here's my idea for a more sophisticated version:
Sauté some chopped onions, garlic and chopped red chilis in oil and butter. Stir in some good chili powder, oregano, cumin, and paprika. Now add the beef (or pork); or a combination of the two. You can either chop the meat into chunks, or put it through a mincer (if you've got one). Cook for a bit until the meat is sealed and coloured.
Next, add some stock, beer (the Mexican beer, Corona, is excellent), and a splash of Tabasco. Let the chili simmer slowly at a low heat, until the meat is cooked. You want the sauce to be reasonably thick. When the meat is nearly done, add some tomato purée, or even better, sun-dried tomato paste, and grate in some bitter chocolate- the sort of quality chocolate (high in cocoa solids) you can buy in delis and specialist shops. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Finally, stir in some cooked beans (Kidney, Haricot, or Black Beans are fine, I'm not really that fussed). Serve with some grated cheese on top, sour cream, and saltine crackers.
To all the readers of The Greasy Spoon: A Very Happy New Year!