Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Joys Of Unintentionally Planning Ahead

Way back a whole, oooooo, I'd say about a week and a half ago (doesn't it seem like an eternity ago, that whole Christmas holiday thing that happened for a fortnight and turned us into a load of face-stuffing, under-achieving vegetables?) I took it upon myself to help my brother make some food for my sister in law's surprise birthday party. With a gusto that surprised even myself, I cooked up quite a storm that included a maple pecan cake and potato salad with homemade mayo. I thought that sustenance should also be provided with some good hot, hearty, stomach-lining chilli. Nigella's latest alluring tome Kitchen has been one of my most-used cookbook purchases of late, and one of the speedy comforting recipes therein is a lovely meaty, tomatoey chilli that includes one of my favourite flavoursome meat products, chorizo. I suggested this as a pre-going out dinner to my friend Fiona once and she sniggered down the phone at the thoughts of the honk off the two of us going out after eating that, but on this occasion I overlooked the potential stinkiness of it in favour of the sustenance it would provide to partygoers. It turned out that nobody was as hungry as I had planned them to be, which was a bit of a winner of a situation for me, since I ended up with a load of it stashed in my freezer. And when I was trying to make sure that my return to work and normality in general last week didn't result in me resorting to anything objectionable or madly unhealthy on the food front, I was very happy to be able to grab this tasty lot from the freezer to smother a steaming baked potato straight from the oven in rich proteiny flavour.

Oooo, look at it! So fatty and oily and salty...which is probably why it is so very tasty and irresistible!

This recipe involves a lot of tinned items, which makes it inexpensive, but also nice and healthy. As well as contributing impressively to my recycling. 

Love the orange oily ooze of the chorizo in the pot. I'll spare you subsequent shots of the mince as it takes colour - such an unappetising sight.

The particularly magic ingredients in this dish are cocoa powder and Worcestershire sauce, and some swear by a dash of espresso, but I didn't have any to hand. 

Whatever that yickiness is that covers canned kidney beans it must must MUST! be rinsed off.

And here it all is, one big party in a pot: 2 sausages of chorizo, followed by 500g minced beef, then 1/2 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 x 15ml tbsp tomato purée, a tin of tomatoes, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce and a tin of kidney beans. On this occasion, I tripled the quantities.

I knew that I couldn't be dealing with a pot full of rice, so I dipped into a huge bag of spuds and hauled out enough to keep a party full of hungry people fed.

Fast forward to the following week and I am getting a bit panicky about my ability to feed myself while also fitting in a million other things in the typically dazed and confused first week back after Christmas. Then - PING - lightbulb - though it's not exactly rocket science, is it. Massive bag of spuds plus chilli in the freezer = duh. Sigh of relief. Full stomach. Phew. What a lifesaver.

You'll be hearing more from that bag of spuds, by the way.

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