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Beef Cheek Chilli Con Carne

I don't know about where you all were but this past weekend in London was a day of freezing cold and crisp frost, followed by grey, cold and very wet, both days that inspired this recipe. The weather made me want to create a dish that was warming, hearty and perfect to eat on a lazy Sunday afternoon, safely tucked away from the elements.


Ingredients

  • 1.3kg beef cheeks 
  • 2 large red onions, chopped
  • 2 peppers, chopped
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2.5 litres of vegetable stock 
  • Double espresso 
  • 15 90% cacao chocolate 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2 teaspoons oregano 
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chilli flakes 
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • Salt and pepper

For the Salsa

  • 200g good quality cherry tomatoes, finely chopped 
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Pinch of salt

For the Guacamole 

  • 2 large avocados
  • Salt and pepper

Cooking Times

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time : 14 hours

Method

Cook the beef cheeks in a slow cooker, covered in 1.25 litres of vegetable stock, for at least 12 hours (it is well worth the wait for the melt in the mouth meat you get at the end). 

In a large casserole dish cook the onions, peppers and garlic in a little olive oil over a medium heat for around ten minutes, until they soften. 

Remove the cheeks from the sow cooker and roughly break them up with a fork, ensuring they are still fairly chunky, and add to the casserole dish. 

Add in all of the remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix together and allow to simmer over a low heat for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally. Add more stock if required. 

Whilst it's cooking prepare the salsa and guacamole. Both of these are really simple, and simply require you to cut everything up and mix together. 

When it comes to guacamole I am a fan of simplicity, mashed avocado with a touch of salt and pepper, no need for anything else. 

Once the chilli is cooked remove bay leaves and the thyme, season to taste and serve. 

* Ideally best served with homemade salsa and guacamole and either freshly cooked rice or, for those looking to limit carbs, with a plenty of steamed green vegetables. 

* spice levels can be adjusted to personal taste

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