It has been strange weather recently. There are torrential downpours one minute, lovely warm sunshine the next and wild gales a little later. It is still warm though and with the rain the atmosphere has a humid feel. It is hard to plan a menu when the weather is so unpredictable. Comfort food is nice when it rains but the warmth does not make stews appealing. Inspired by my recent Cinco de Mayo party food I decided I was going to make a Mexican chilli beef. My plan was to make a lighter spicy stew that could be served with rice or salad, ideal for a warm day.
Chilli is normally made with mince but I used brasing steak. I chopped up onions and garlic and fried them gently until they were soft. The beef was browned gently and I used a tin of tomatoes and some Cirio tomato purée from Aprils Degustabox to make the sauce. This was mixed with a little beef stock.
To add the spice I chopped up a couple of chilli peppers and added them to the mix. I was careful to wash my hands as I usually forget. If you rub your eyes with chilli juice on your fingers it is not pleasant. I also added some paprika and cumin to bring out the flavour. For a Mexican feel I added some lime juice and zest which worked really well with the tomatoes and spice bringing out the flavour.
The dish then needs to be simmered slowly. There should be no rush to eat, the longer it is cooked the more the flavours will mingle. The beef should be meltingly tender but not falling apart. I let mine simmer for over an hour, stirring it from time to time to make sure it was not sticking to the pan. Ten minutes before serving add some kidney beans and cook though.
I served my Mexican chilli beef with Veetee Spicy Mexican rice that I received in Aprils Degustabox, it was the perfect side dish. A big salad would also go perfectly with the dish as would chunks of crusty bread for dipping in the sauce. It is the ideal meal for humid wet days, filling and full of flavour. It makes you think of summer days ahead and long light nights in the sunshine.