Syn free chilli, then. I’m so sorry, but I can’t resist a rhyming couplet. Even if it’s crass and leaves a sour taste in my mouth. There’s been much worse in there, trust me. We originally made this recipe way back on bonfire night but, as is our way, we got distracted driving back (so many lay-bys!) that there was no time to post it. Now, six weeks later, here we are.
Actually, coming home to a bowl full of chilli was just what I needed, given I spend fireworks displays permanently on edge that either a) I’ll develop (worse) tinnitus from all the bangs and crackles or b) I’ll end up a banger veering off course and exploding in my eye. I’m a catastrophic thinker with a lot of irrational fears, see. Put me in any situation and I’ll pass the time imagining the various ways I’m about to die.
For example, you might get in a lift and fret about getting stuck in there, having to make small chat with and/or suck off the stranger you’re entombed with whilst the firemen diddle about getting you out. That’s fine – but I worry about pressing the button only for my finger to sink through and jam into the circuit breakers. I worry about the machinery at the top of the lift shaft plummeting down, smashing through the ceiling of the lift and turning me into a Heinz Toast Topper on the floor. I imagine the lights overheating and turning my trip to the sixth floor to something like the end trap from a Saw movie. It’s not like I can take the stairs, either – someone will have spilled some coffee, I’ll slip over in my cheap good-idea-at-the-time shoes, then crash-bang-wallop down I go, neck splintering like an old bit of bamboo.
Worst part: I know I’d void myself on the way out. I’m bad enough at the best of times, let alone when I’m dying.
It’s exhausting, dying every day, and that’s before you add in my health anxiety where every eye-twitch or brittle fingernail is a sure and certain symptom of mad-cow disease or a collapsed uterus. It doesn’t stop me doing anything but by god, there’s always a low-level edge. I asked Paul if he had similar concerns and as usual, he looked at me as though I’d just burst into flames and told me to stop being a tit. I pressed him a bit further and he admitted to having one irrational fear – he doesn’t like people handing him anything dairy, because he frets something chronic that the heat from their hands will curdle the milk.
This coming from a man who didn’t know what a cup of tea tasted like without a scum of cigarette ash on it tasted like until he met me. Oh: he’s also scared of breathing loudly, something I’ve noticed – he’ll have his headphones on and all of a sudden he’ll gasp as though he’s shat out a pinecone. He holds his breath so he isn’t ‘noisy’ and then gets all light-headed and panicky. It’s like sitting next to a faulty sleep apnea mask.
Anyway, hush. Let’s back to the task in hand, shall we? The syn-free chilli. I found the recipe on BBC Good Food so can’t claim any credit, though I did adapt it for Slimming World. It’s all made in one-pot so less farting about for you lot! This serves about a billion people. Seriously, it made loads, but it freezes well. Canny on a jacket potato too!
Oh one final thing: just an update on our charity pledge! We’re well over £3,000 now – we’ve moved the target up again. Remember, folks, if you can, please do donate a couple of quid this Christmas – all the money goes to our amazing local cat and dog shelter where they do the most fantastic, selfless work! Thank you to every single soul who has donated – you’ve warmed our hearts! Click the banner to donate, it’ll open in a new window!
Right, let’s get on! Looks like a big list of ingredients but it really isn’t too bad. Have a look at the tips section first!
to make syn free chilli, you’ll need:
- three big fat onions, thinly sliced
- 800g of lean 5% beef mince (or lamb, but good luck finding that unless you’ve got a local butcher like us)
- 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
- a little knob of fresh ginger
- four garlic cloves
- 2 big tins of chopped tomato
- 1 tbsp of smoked or normal paprika
- 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp of ground corinader
- 3 tbsp of harissa
- 3 red peppers, cut into chunks
- 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
- coriander, if you’re a filthy sick pervert – you’ll need about 20g of fresh coriander
- 500ml of good beef stock, make it with two cubes to really excite your nethers
- buy your 5% mince as part of a make-your-own-hamper deal with Musclefood and you’ll save a bomb – click here for more details and don’t fret, it’ll open in a new window!
- you can buy harissa in nearly every supermarket, it’ll be where the spices are, and it’s super cheap
- you can certainly leave out the cinnamon, I did
- ditto the coriander
- smoked paprika is always going to taste better than normal paprika, but just use what you have
- use one of these for mincing your garlic and ginger – save your fingers and time
- keep any leftover ginger root in your freezer for next time – no need to chuck it out
- you could probably do this in the Instant Pot but to be honest, you’re so much better off just cooking it low and slow in the hob or oven
to make syn free chilli, you should:
- get your good, heavy casserole pot out
- few sprays of oil in the bottom please and heat to medium
- toast your cumin seeds if using – as soon as you smell them, remove them from the heat and tip in your sliced onion
- cook these until they colour, then add the mince, grated ginger, garlic – then cook until the meat is no longer pink
- why not take a moment to remove any excess fat from the pan if there is any
- add the tomatoes, toasted cumin, all the spices, harissa, the chickpeas, most of the chopped coriander if you’re using, then cover with a lid and simmer for an hour or so – but actually, the longer you cook it, the better it’ll be – don’t be afraid to cook it for a good three hours on a very low heat!
- serve with whatever you like
Easy! Freeze by tipping into sandwich bags, sealing them, pressing them flat then storing in the freezer. Duh. Want more ideas? Click the buttons below. Finally, if you love us dearly, hit the share buttons at the bottom too!