Aim for perfection with this definitive Heston Blumenthal chilli con carne recipe
Heston: "The spiced butter used in this recipe is great for perking up any stew or mince dish. It’s really easy to make and can be kept in the freezer for up to a month. If you find it difficult to find cornmeal for the muffins, replace with it polenta for a slightly heavier but equally delicious result. I always serve chilli con carne with fresh lime zest and juice, soured cream and grated cheese."
For the spiced butter
For the kidney beans
For the chilli
For the cornbread muffins
To finish and serve
To make the butter, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the cumin and chilli powder for a couple of seconds. Pour into a bowl and add the smoked paprika, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Marmite and butter. Mix together thoroughly, cover and keep in the fridge until required (for up to a week), or freeze for a month.
For the beans, put the brine in a container, stirring until dissolved. Add the beans, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
Place the tomatoes and 50ml water in a pressure cooker, reserving the vines. Put on the lid and place over a high heat. When it reaches full pressure, cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool before taking off the lid. Place the pan over a high heat, stirring frequently until the liquid has reduced by half (approximately 10 minutes).
Leave the tomatoes to cool, then tip into a container, adding the vines to infuse a fresh tomato flavour.
To cook the beans, strain them and place in the pressure cooker. Remove the vines from the tomatoes and add the tomatoes to the beans. If necessary, add some water so that the beans are covered in liquid.
Put the lid on and place the pressure cooker over a high heat. When it reaches full pressure, reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Leave to cool completely before opening. Add this mixture to the chilli when completed.
To start the chilli, coat the bottom of a large saucepan with olive oil and place over a high heat until smoking hot.
Add the mince, in batches if necessary so that it browns rather than stews, and cook until evenly coloured. Remove and drain the meat
Add a little water to the same pan to deglaze it, and tip the water and bits in with the drained meat so none of the flavour is lost.
Turn the heat down to medium and add another thin layer of olive oil. Add the onion and star anise and cook over a medium-high heat for approximately 7–10 minutes until the onion begins to colour, then add the carrot, garlic and green chilli. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the carrot is soft.
Add the tomato purée, stir and cook for another 5 minutes until everything turns a brick-red colour. Pour in the red wine and allow to reduce by two-thirds. Remove the star anise and discard.
Stir in the spiced butter (for mild-medium heat), the browned mince, diced tomatoes and stock, and simmer over a low heat for 2–3 hours, stirring occasionally.
To make the cornbread muffins, preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix the buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter together and pour into the well. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Stir in the chillies.
Butter and flour a 12-hole muffin tin and fill the moulds three-quarters of the way up. Bake the muffins in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, de-mould and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
To finish the chilli, fold the beans and chopped peppers into the chilli, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, lime zest and juice, and stir in more spiced butter to increase the heat. Serve with grated cheese, soured cream and cornbread muffins.
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