Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Salsa
The now familiar chilli con carne has suffered from its fair share of convenience shortcut versions but when it's made properly, with the right ingredients, it is still a wonderful concept. I think this version is even better than the original, using black beans and introducing the subtle flavouring of lime and coriander – and adding a contrasting cold garnish at the end.
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You will also need a 4 pint (2.25 litre) flameproof casserole with a well-fitting lid.
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.
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 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.
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.
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