Tonight for tea with the kids we had our own twist on Chilli Con Carne. It was inspired by flicking through ‘How to be a Better Cook’ by Lorraine Pascale and spotting a recipe for Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne, and then making it up with a lot of things we had in the fridge. As our daughter isn’t a big fan of spicy, I kept the chilli powder to a minimum and strategically renamed it to Beef Un-Chilli.
The chilli was slow-cooked a couple of days ago and was sitting in the fridge and tonight we put together some black rice, orzo and spinach to go with it. We hadn’t had the black rice before (it’s also known as ‘forbidden rice’ because only the emperors of China were allowed to eat it, according to legend) but it was delicious and really helped to counteract the (sometimes a bit too slimy for my taste) texture of the orzo with its slight crunchiness.
All these ingredients were plopped into the slow cooker (and squished down a bit with hands to get them to fit because of the sheer amount of veggies!) and cooked for about seven hours.
When it was done, the sauce was a bit fatty so we strained it out with a big colander and put into the fridge separately. We scraped off the fat that had floated to the top of the sauce, recombined it in a big saucepan and added a little cornflower and water paste to thicken. We also saved a large portion for the freezer (in our new favourite freezer receptacles - disposable paper soup pots with lids), in fact there wasn’t massive amounts of beef left in the portion we ate this evening.
The black rice takes over 40 mins to cook so that needed to go on to boil plenty in advance, and the orzo was put in for the few minutes it takes when the black rice was ready. Then we put a little olive oil in a big shallow pan, added the rice and orzo, poured over a bit of soy sauce and added the spinach and just lightly sizzled that together.
We popped it on the table with the option of dolloping a bit of ruby rose harissa onto it for those who like spicy. The verdict from the kids was unanimous - even from the non-spice eater! - it went down a storm, lots of empty plates. Definitely one we’ll be repeating!
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