Franks Down and Dirty Chilli

What can I say about my chilli; well I started off experimenting with chilli after going to a cheap and cheerful Tex Mex type bar somewhere off Tottenham Court Road London in the early 90’s. Looking back it was the sort of mass produced stuff that satisfied the patrons, who after 5 pints of beer and a few tequilas didn’t really have taste buds left, so anything would have done the job. It did however have the desired effect on me of wanting to explore the hot stuff, so, from time to time I would rustle up various concoctions involving, beef, basic red chillies, tomatoes and stock.

This then progressed into adding more ingredients, reading recipes, force feeding friends and girlfriends and eventually going to the good old US of A, where a friend of mine suggested adding stuff like beer, chocolate, different types of chillies and other “secret” ingredients to give depth of flavour and the sort of taste that will literally have you asking, no begging for the recipe as it’s soooo good! (well that’s what lots of people, including chefs, have told me).

So, I’m afraid I can’t reveal the recipe, it’s only going to be told to Harry when he is mature enough to understand the complexity of the dish and life changing powers he now has at his disposal!

But what I can share is this quick and easy recipe. Sometimes you just need to rustle something up and this one been the favourite after a rugby game or a panic cook as Holly has failed to tell me we had guests coming over! I also think that chilli is as good as its ‘mates’. So note what you partner the chilli with, as sometimes this is what people remember more…


Frank’s quick, down and dirty chilli (not my secret one) :

  • a big splodge of vegetable oil
  • a couple of white onions, chopped finely
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of mild chilli powder
  • big pinch of cayenne powder, (wash your hands afterwards and don’t poke your eye)
  • big pinch sea salt or to taste
  • 500g  beef, I like beef shin minced, as it has great flavour that comes from the fat content
  • 4 finely sliced garlic cloves
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • big squeeze tomato puree
  • 30g dark chocolate at least 70% cocoa content
  • coriander,  medium cheddar cheese and sour cream to garnish

In a large, heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and add onions, cook for about 15mins until soft and a little brown on the edges makes them sweeter, then add chilli powder, cayenne, salt, cook for 30 seconds, add beef and brown, add garlic, add tomato puree, cook for about 3 mins, add both cans of beans and cover. Leave over a low heat for around 1 hour, stirring now and again, checking taste as you go and season if required. After 1 hour, stir in chocolate and turn into deep bowls, top with cheese, sour cream and a hint of fresh coriander and serve with any of the below sides for added memories:


– Big helping of skinny fries
– Corn chips
– Tortillas, turns it all into an amazing wrap great whilst holding a good beer in your other hand!
– Red onions, sliced thinly
– Sliced, de-seeeded jalapeños, in case it’s not hot enough!
– Wild rice
– Corn-on-the-cob, cooked on the hob and blackened quickly over a flame topped with butter
– Franks Guacamole, 2 ripe avocados, 1 beef tomato, deseeded, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ red chilli deseeded,  big pinch sea salt, squeeze of lemon juice, throw it all in a blender and 10 seconds later you have heaven

Or why not try a low carb option too served in a roasted pepper with a green salad


You’re friends will talk about it for ever more and you can smile sweetly to yourself in the knowledge that you froze some for tomorrow nights supper.

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