This dish is the real Mexican chilli con carne. It’s super easy to flex so you can make the most of your store cupboard spices as well as any fruits and veg you can get your hands on right now, to give a beautiful balance of sweet and savoury.
This slow-cooked version combines both beef and pork, sweet spices like cinnamon and allspice and toasted pine nuts and raisins. It is delicious on its own, with baked potatoes, in tacos or stuffed inside chillies or with rice.
Ingredients – Serves 6 (and great for freezing)
250g minced beef
250g minced pork
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 tins plum tomatoes
pinch of brown sugar
1 tbsp chipotles en adobo
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cloves
60g stoned green olives, roughly chopped
60g almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
350mls stock or water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
50g dark chocolate
Salt and pepper
Mix the meats together in a bowl, season and set aside. Sweat the onion in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil for five minutes, before adding the garlic and chillies. Add the tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper and a pinch of brown sugar. Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until golden.
Meanwhile, while the tomatoes are cooking, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a very hot, large casserole pan and brown the meat in small batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan or the meat will boil in its juices rather than brown. Season each batch as you cook with salt and pepper and break up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Add all the meat back to the pan, and sprinkle over the cinnamon, cumin, cloves, olives and raisins. Cook for a few minutes before pouring over the tomato sauce and stock. Bring to simmering point and cook over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Add the toasted almonds, half the vinegar and the chocolate, season and taste again. Add the remaining vinegar if you the flavours need brightening.
The finished picadillo should not be too wet. It tastes better if left for a day or two in the fridge, reheated and served, or put it into a hot, crispy jacket potato at once with grated cheese and slaw. Happy munching!
Recipe from Mexican Food Made Simple, Thomasina Miers, Hodder & Stougton