Prepare your vegetables. Chop 1 large onion into small dice,
about 5mm square. The easiest
way to do this is to cut the onion
in half from root to tip, peel it
and slice each half into thick
matchsticks lengthways, not
quite cutting all the way to the
root end so they are still held
together. Slice across the
matchsticks into neat dice. Cut 1 red pepper in half
lengthways, remove stalk and
wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.
Start cooking. Put your pan on
the hob over a medium heat. Add
the oil and leave it for 1-2
minutes until hot (a little
longer for an electric hob). Add
the onions and cook, stirring
fairly frequently, for about
5 minutes, or until the onions
are soft, squidgy and slightly
translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin. Give it a good stir, then
leave it to cook for another 5
minutes, stirring occasionally.
Brown the 500g lean minced beef. Turn the heat
up a bit, add the meat to the pan
and break it up with your spoon
or spatula. The mix should
sizzle a bit when you add the
mince. Keep stirring and
prodding for at least 5 minutes,
until all the mince is in
uniform, mince-sized lumps
and there are no more pink bits.
Make sure you keep the heat hot
enough for the meat to fry and
become brown, rather than just
Making the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g can) and add these as well. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram and 1 tsp sugar, if using (see tip at the bottom), and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp tomato
purée and stir the sauce well.
Simmer it gently. Bring the
whole thing to the boil, give it a
good stir and put a lid on the pan.
Turn down the heat until it is
gently bubbling and leave it for
20 minutes. You should check
on the pan occasionally to stir it
and make sure the sauce doesn’t
catch on the bottom of the pan or
isn’t drying out. If it is, add a
couple of tablespoons of water
and make sure that the heat
really is low enough. After
simmering gently, the saucy
mince mixture should look
thick, moist and juicy.
Bring on the beans. Drain and
rinse 1 can of red kidney beans (410g can) in a sieve and
stir them into the chilli pot.
Bring to the boil again, and
gently bubble without the lid for
another 10 minutes, adding a
little more water if it looks too
dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and
season. It will probably take a
lot more seasoning than you
think. Now replace the lid, turn
off the heat and leave your chilli
to stand for 10 minutes before
serving, and relax. Leaving
your chilli to stand is really
important as it allows the
flavours to mingle and the meat.
Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.