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Cheesy Chilli

by . Featured in KITCHEN
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Introduction

I can't count how often I find myself stirring a pan with some mince in it, day to day. Not that this is anything to apologize for: it's easy, quick and comforting. I could probably measure out my life in chilli bowls, and that's no bad thing either. This recipe draws again on a favourite time-saving practice of mine, which is to start off with some paprika-piccante chorizo sausages that give off a fiery orange oil in which to sear and season the mince.

Tex-Mex custom decrees that chilli be eaten with - among other embellishments - a handful of grated cheese thrown on top. This is merely an impatient rendering of the same, whereby you simply chop or tear some mozzarella and stir it in to the chilli in the pan, just long enough to let it melt into the meat.

If you've got the time, and have managed to think ahead, you could put some baking potatoes into the oven to provide a substantial vessel for the cheesy chilli (it will also make the chilli go further) but I don't think anyone would argue with a bowl of tortilla chips alongside, or indeed a beautiful loaf of bread, freshly sliced for dunking. All I'd add further would be a crisp green salad, sharply dressed and a small cup of chopped fresh coriander for all-round anointing.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I can't count how often I find myself stirring a pan with some mince in it, day to day. Not that this is anything to apologize for: it's easy, quick and comforting. I could probably measure out my life in chilli bowls, and that's no bad thing either. This recipe draws again on a favourite time-saving practice of mine, which is to start off with some paprika-piccante chorizo sausages that give off a fiery orange oil in which to sear and season the mince.

Tex-Mex custom decrees that chilli be eaten with - among other embellishments - a handful of grated cheese thrown on top. This is merely an impatient rendering of the same, whereby you simply chop or tear some mozzarella and stir it in to the chilli in the pan, just long enough to let it melt into the meat.

If you've got the time, and have managed to think ahead, you could put some baking potatoes into the oven to provide a substantial vessel for the cheesy chilli (it will also make the chilli go further) but I don't think anyone would argue with a bowl of tortilla chips alongside, or indeed a beautiful loaf of bread, freshly sliced for dunking. All I'd add further would be a crisp green salad, sharply dressed and a small cup of chopped fresh coriander for all-round anointing.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Cheesy Chilli
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 6

Metric Cups
  • 110 grams chorizo (cut into fat coins and halved)
  • 500 grams minced beef
  • ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon sundried tomato paste or tomato puree
  • 1 x 400 grams can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 x 400 grams can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 x 125 grams mozzarella balls (chopped)
  • sea salt flakes (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • chopped fresh coriander to serve (optional)
  • 4 ounces chorizo (cut into fat coins and halved)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste or tomato puree
  • 1 x 14 ounces can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 x 15 ounces can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella balls (chopped)
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • chopped cilantro to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Put a smallish cast-iron casserole or heavy-based pan (that comes with a lid) on the heat and add the semi-circles of chunky chorizo, cooking just long enough for them to start giving off a lucent orange oil.
  2. Add the mince, trying to break it up a little with a wooden fork and turn it in the oil to combine with the chorizo.
  3. When the meat has begun to lose its all-over raw colour, sprinkle with the cocoa and oregano, dollop in the paste or puree and give a good stir before adding the canned tomatoes. Swill the empty can out with 125ml / ½ cup water, and empty that in turn into the pan, followed by the Worcestershire sauce and the drained, rinsed kidney beans, then let it all come to a bubble.
  4. Turn the heat down low, clamp on the lid and let the chilli simmer gently for 20 minutes. I often remove it to a cold dish (for efficient cooling) when it's cooked, to reheat and eat later. (I've done that here, and reheated in a frying pan, which is why you see the chilli in what might seem an inappropriate vessel.)
  5. If you're moving seamlessly on, remove the lid now, turn up the heat until the chilli starts to bubble with vigour again, then turn off the heat and stir in the mozzarella. Season and serve immediately, sprinkling with fresh coriander, if so desired.
  1. Put a smallish cast-iron casserole or heavy-based pan (that comes with a lid) on the heat and add the semi-circles of chunky chorizo, cooking just long enough for them to start giving off a lucent orange oil.
  2. Add the mince, trying to break it up a little with a wooden fork and turn it in the oil to combine with the chorizo.
  3. When the meat has begun to lose its all-over raw colour, sprinkle with the cocoa and oregano, dollop in the paste or puree and give a good stir before adding the canned tomatoes. Swill the empty can out with 125ml / ½ cup water, and empty that in turn into the pan, followed by the Worcestershire sauce and the drained, rinsed kidney beans, then let it all come to a bubble.
  4. Turn the heat down low, clamp on the lid and let the chilli simmer gently for 20 minutes. I often remove it to a cold dish (for efficient cooling) when it's cooked, to reheat and eat later. (I've done that here, and reheated in a frying pan, which is why you see the chilli in what might seem an inappropriate vessel.)
  5. If you're moving seamlessly on, remove the lid now, turn up the heat until the chilli starts to bubble with vigour again, then turn off the heat and stir in the mozzarella. Season and serve immediately, sprinkling with cilantro, if so desired.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
The chilli, without the cheese, can be made 2 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate as quickly as possible. Reheat gently in a frying pan or large saucepan until piping hot then add cheese as directed in the recipe.

FREEZE NOTE:
The cooled chilli, without the cheese, can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat as above.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE:
The chilli, without the cheese, can be made 2 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate as quickly as possible. Reheat gently in a frying pan or large saucepan until piping hot then add cheese as directed in the recipe.

FREEZE NOTE:
The cooled chilli, without the cheese, can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat as above.

Tell us what you think

What 4 Others have said

  • I pimped my already 'bolognese' sauce with some chorizo I had in the freezer too, added a bit of cocoa powder and kidney-beans, a few drops of worcestershire sauce, done. Even the mozzarella and coriander were to hand. Delicious!

    Posted by Clairette on 5th November 2020
  • I made this last night and it was a winner. I did it with potatoes in their jackets and it was a delicious filling meal on a cool night

    Posted by TinaArena1971 on 7th May 2020
  • I would strongly recommend adding a chilli - it is all the better with at least one fresh chilli pepper.

    Posted by Piotr_Stefan on 4th May 2020
  • Really quick and easy and very yummy! I added some chilli flakes and ground chilli powder and it worked well! I served it with a fresh white bread boule.

    Posted by Heney on 2nd May 2020
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