Mexican Carne con Chile, Red Pepper Rice and Salsa

Mexican classic beef with chilli, red pepper rice and a wonderful fresh salsa. Comfort food at its very best.

20180118_1809281310965162.jpg

Serves two people

Preparation time 30 minutes, cooking time 1 hour

This recipe uses gaujillo chillies and chipolte paste to give the chilli sauce that authentic flavour. Firstly gaujillo chillies, garlic and tomato are dry fried, before being blended with cumin seeds and chipolte paste. Beef mince is browned with some white onion in a little oil, then the paste is added along with all spice berries, bay leaf, oregano, some water and seasoning. The dish is slowly simmered for around an hour to reduce the sauce and bring out the rich deep flavours.

Red pepper rice works so well with this dish, or indeed as a side to any mexican dish. Onion, garlic and half a red bell pepper are fried in a little oil then washed long grain rice is added along with chilli powder and tomato paste. The rice is fried in the oil and stirred until each grain is coated. Chicken stock is then added along with seasoning before the rice is covered and reduced to simmer. After the stock is absorbed the rice is fluffed up with a fork before serving.

The salsa is a straightforward mix of corn, tomatoes, spring onion, red onion, avocado, red chilli, coriander, seasoning, a little sugar and lime juice. Best done 1-2 hours in advance, mixed well and set aside to let the flavours come together. A winner with any mexican dish or as a dip for tortilla chips.

As an extra accompaniment I served this dish with corn tortillas and sour cream.

Ingredients and method

Carne con chilli

2 gaujillo chillies – soak in water for 30 minutes

3 garlic cloves (unpeeled)

3 round tomatoes

tsp cumin seeds

1 and half tsp chipolte paste

220 -300g good quality minced beef

1 white onion – diced

2 all spice berries

1 bay leaf

tsp oregano

1 tbsp oil

200ml water

Salt and pepper to taste

Method: Dry fry the garlic, guajillo chillies and tomatoes over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, turning frequently until charred. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled. Peel the garlic then add to a mini blender along with the unpeeled tomatoes, gaujillo chillies, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1.5 tsps chipolte paste and blend well until smooth. In a separate pan and the oil and heat over a medium heat, once hot brown the mince along with the onion. Next add the paste from the blender, approx 200ml water, 2 all spice berries, a bay leaf and a tsp oregano. Stir well bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for approximately 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add a little more water if the chilli becomes too dry.

 

Red pepper rice

150g long grain rice – rinse before use

1 white onion –  diced

2 cloves garlic – peel, crush, finely chop

Half a red bell pepper – diced

2 tsp tomato paste

1 tsp chilli powder – use extra for extra heat

400ml chicken stock

1 tbsp oil

Method: Heat the oil over a medium heat in a saucepan then fry the onions, garlic and bell pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice along with 2 tsp tomato paste and 1 tsp chilli powder, stir well and fry the mixture for 30 seconds. Pour in the chicken stock along with a little seasoning, stir once and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed. Remove from heat, remove lid and fluff rice with a fork.

Salsa

4 Tbsp sweetcorn

2 round tomatoes – finely chopped

1 red onion – diced

1 avocado – diced

Handful coriander leaf – chopped

2 spring onions – thinly sliced

2 red bird eye chillies – thinly sliced

salt and pepper – to taste

Half teaspoon of brown sugar

Juice of 1 lime

Method – This is really as simple as mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl, cover and setting aside in fridge. In My opinion it is best done 2-3 hours in advance and brought to room temperature 30 mins before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Soup

A wonderful rich, smokey and spicy soup inspired by the soups I have tasted travelling in Mexico. The flavour from the gaujilo chillies and chipolte paste make this soup something very special.

The soup is made from a flavour base of bay leaf, guajilo chillies, garlic and onion which is fried in a little olive oil. Carrots, celery, peppers, red chilli, tomato paste, pasatta and fresh coriander is then added. A spice mix of chipolte paste, cumin seeds, ground coriander, smoked paprika, oregano, a little sugar and seasoning is added before some stock. The soup is then simmered for 45 minutes before being blended.

 

20180110_181500.jpg

Makes 4 portions

Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 1 hour

Ingredients

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 Bay leafs

2 dried gaujilo chilles – soak in water for 40 minutes, discard water

4 gloves garlic – crush and peel

2 white onions – peel, dice

4 carrots – peel and cut into fine discs

2 sticks celery – slice thinly

1 orange bell pepper – diced

1 Yellow bell pepper – diced

1 red chilli – thinly slice

2 tsp tomato paste

500-600g Pasatta

1 handful fresh coriander – use leaf and stalks

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp chipolte paste

2 tsp sugar

1.5L vegetable or chicken stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

You require a deep soup pan and a stick blender for this recipe

Cooking instructions

  1. Start by heating 2 tbsp Olive oil in a deep pan over a medium heat. Add the bay leaf, gaujilo chillies, garlic and onions and fry for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, peppers, red chilli and coriander leaf and fry for a further 3-4 minutes until mixture softens.
  3. Add the passatta and tomato paste stir through the mixture. Next add the cumin, ground coriander, oregano, chipolte paste and the smoked paprika. Stir frequently and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add 1.5L of stock and 2 tsp of sugar and stir well. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for approx 45 minutes.
  5. After 45 minutes turn off heat and uncover the soup. Remove the bay leafs then use a stick blender to blitz soup until smooth. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste – because soup is well spiced you may not need very much at all.
  6. Serve and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled steak rice salad with spiced coriander dressing

One day I hope to recover enough from my accident to open my own restaurant, this will defiantly be on the menu – its that tasty!

This recipe is extremely healthy as well as being super tasty. A selection of salad ingredients are seasoned then combined with cooked brown rice. The steak is marinated in my signature steak marinade, grilled then rested before being sliced on the diagonal and placed on top of a bed of the rice. A wonderful spiced coriander dressing is then made and drizzled over the top to complete the dish. It sounds simple however the combination of textures and flavours make this dish a real winner.

The best thing about this dish is that it is colourful, fresh, flavourful and satisfying yet it is extremely good for you.

 

20170518_182257.jpg
Grilled beef rice salad

This recipe is for two people

20 minutes preparation (plus 2hr marinading time)

25 minutes cooking

Method and ingredients

For steaks:

2 rump or sirloin steaks (thinner cuts work best)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Worcester sauce

Teaspoon salt

Half teaspoon ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a food bag, tie securely, then massage beef for 1 minute to ensure a good covering. Put in fridge for 90 minutes then remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.

To Cook the steaks: cook over a high heat to medium rare, rest then slice on the diagonal into thin strips. Make sure you collect all the juices and drizzle over the final dish.

For the rice:

140g brown rice – cook in lightly salted water, drain then put on a plate to cool

small red onion – diced

40-50g sweetcorn – drain on absorbent paper

1 red Romano pepper – diced

1 beef tomato – core removed, cut into chunks, drain on absorbent paper

10cm cucumber – seeds removed, cut into crescents then half, drain on absorbent paper

1 large avocado – diced (do last to avoid browning)

2 spring onions – thinly sliced on diagonal

1 large hot red chilli – very thinly sliced (as thin as you can!)

Half teaspoon salt

Half teaspoon brown sugar

Quarter teaspoon black pepper

Place all the chopped vegetables in large glass bowl, along with the salt, sugar and black pepper. Use your hands to mix well. Once the rice has cooled, tip in and mix gently.

For the spiced coriander lime dressing:

Half teaspoon ground coriander

Half teaspoon paprika

Three Quarters teaspoon ground cumin

Juice of two limes

Heaped desert spoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf

Half teaspoon salt

Quarter teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl first add the spices, then lime juice and stir well until combined. Next add the sugar, salt and pepper, stir well until they have dissolved then leave for 5 minutes. Next add the coriander and stir well for 2-3 minutes. Taste test the dressing, add extra seasoning or a little extra sugar if required. Ensure you give it another good stir just before serving.

Assembling final dish: Place a bed of the rice salad mixture on the plate. Place strips of steak on top the drizzle their juices on top. To complete use a spoon to drizzle the dressing over the dish. Serve and enjoy!

20170518_182303.jpg
Grilled beef rice salad

Crab salsa taco bites with roasted refried bean stuffed Peppers

Tomato and crab salsa taco bites, perfect for nibbles over the christmas period or as a main meal with my refried bean stuffed peppers.

This is a very easy recipe which tastes like you have been slaving away for hours.

20171111_184840(0).jpg

Serves two people

Preparation 30 minutes, cooking 30-35 minutes

Ingredients and method

For the crab salsa taco bites:

1 packet of corn tacos – cut into squares slightly larger than the wholes on your muffin tray

1 red onion – finely diced

4 round tomatoes – finely diced

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1 red chilli – finely chopped

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaf

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaf

2 dessert spoons tomato ketchup

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil to brush the tacos

You require a Muffin or cupcake tray for this recipe

  1. Make the salsa by combining the tomatoes, garlic, chilli, herbs, spices, ketchup, lime in a bowl. Mix well then season to taste. Cover and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C then start cutting the tacos into squares. These need to be slightly larger than the holes in the muffin tray. Experiment with one or two tacos to get the right size before cutting all your tacos – remember its easy to cut a little bit off if they are too large. See picture below for example.
  3. Brush the muffin tray with a little oil then brush each of the cut tacos lightly. Push one taco into the muffin tray firmly then press it down into the mold. Place another taco square on top of it at a 45 degree angle (as shown below) so it forms a star shape in the mold. Firmly press the tacos together into the mold. Repeat for the rest of the taco shells.
  4. Place them in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the tacos have crisped up then remove them from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  5. Once cooled spoon the salsa into the tacos and serve immediately.

 

 

For the stuffed Peppers

2 bell peppers – cut in half, remove white stalk and seeds.

1 tin of refried beans

1 small red onion – finely diced

1 red chilli – finely sliced

1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

50g cheddar cheese – crumble/cut into small pieces

  1. Start by halving the peppers, removing the seeds and inner white stalk. Retain the outer green stalk. Make sure when you cut them, you halve them in a way that both sit flat on the baking tray.
  2. Spoon in the refried beans so they fill slightly more than 3/4 of the hollowed peppers.  Sprinkle some sliced chilli and diced onion on top then finish with some crumbled cheese.
  3. Place in a preheated oven at 180°c and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheeses melts and bubbles
  4. Remove from the oven and serve.

 

 

 

 

Tomato and orange pepper salsa

Really simple, yet really tasty recipe for a fresh and zingy salsa.

Works well as a side dish with salads, mexican cuisine, grilled meats and fish. Also a great dip for potato crisps and tortilla chips.

Tomato and orange pepper salsa

Recipe is for 4 servings

Ingredients

125g plum tomatoes

2 red onions

Juice of 2 limes

1 orange bell pepper

Tsp brown sugar

Tsp smoked paprika

Handful of fresh coriander leaf

1/4 Tsp salt

1/4 Tsp ground black pepper

You require a food processor for this recipe. Use the main multi purpose chopping blade.

Method

Peel the onion and deseed the bell pepper. Add all the ingredients to a food processor. Use the pulse setting in bursts of 4-5 seconds, stopping between pulses for a few seconds until the salsa is finely chopped (see pictures for example) but before it is reduced to a paste. Set aside in a covered bowl in a fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

tomato orange pepper salsa close up