Chilli Con Carne

Chilli Con Carne
Chilli Con Carne is a very versatile meal.  We enjoy it as a dish on its own with rice and green salad, or on corn chips as Nachos, or even in Tacos. The leftovers are also good on pizza, or as a pie filling.
It can be made ahead and reheated, and the leftovers can be frozen to use another day.

This version has the addition of a small amount of chocolate, sounds strange but it works! It adds a little sweetness to the dish that seems to make the cinnamon flavour pop, and gives a bit of extra richness to the flavour. Make sure you use dark chocolate.

Add chilli to your own taste, you can bump the heat up by adding extra chilli, or include some seeds if you like your taste buds burning! Fresh chillies are great but if you don’t have any, use powder. I would substitute 1 tsp of powder for 2 fresh (de-seeded) chillies. I also keep dried crushed chilli in my pantry, which is better than powder (but MUCH hotter, so use sparingly).

Serve with sour cream and guacamole (you can find my recipe here)

If you would like to prepare this ahead use your slow cooker. Chop the onions and chillies,  add everything to the slow cooker (except the kidney beans), give it a good stir and cook on low for 6-8 hours (depending on your cooker). Add the beans towards the end of the cooking time.

Chilli Con Carne
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Red Meat
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 fresh chillies, de-seeded
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 425g can chopped tomatoes
  • 25g tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 squares of dark chocolate
  • 440g red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
Method
  1. Add onions, and chilli to mixer bowl and chop speed 7, 7 seconds.
  2. Add oil and saute 100 degrees, 2 minutes, speed 1.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except beans and parsley and cook at 100 degrees, 15 minutes, reverse speed soft.
  4. Add kidney beans and parsley and cook for a further 5 minutes, 100 degrees, reverse, speed soft.
  5. Serve with grated cheese, guacomole and sour cream.
Notes
Serve with grated cheese, guacomole and sour cream.

 

 

Moroccan Lamb Casserole

MoroccanLamb
As with most slow cooker recipes, the process for this tasty casserole is simple; add all ingredients, set to cook, enjoy your day in the smug and comforting knowledge that dinner is taken care of, come back 6-8 hours later, and eat and enjoy!

I have to admit I am not a huge fan of lamb as a cut of meat. But slow cooked in this recipe I really enjoy it.
The lovely combination of spices and dried fruit adds great flavour to this meal, this is certainly not a boring ‘meat stew’ recipe!

If you are slow cooker purist you could brown the meat in a fry pan before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. I am usually too lazy (or in too much of hurry) to add this step in.  But if you like your meat a bit browner looking feel free to add this step in at the start of this recipe.

We serve this with cous cous and natural yoghurt, with some steamed vegetables on the side.

 

Moroccan Lamb Casserole
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 400g diced lamb
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground Cinnamon
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup dried dates, seeds removed, chopped roughly
  • ¼ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Tmx vegetable stock paste or 2 stock cubes
  • Juice of one lime
  • 300g tin chick peas, rinsed and drained
Method
  1. Add all ingredients except chick peas to your slow cooker bowl and stir well to combine.
  2. Set temperature to low and cook for 6-8 hours.
  3. One hour before the end of the cooking time add the drained chick peas and stir through.

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

I have to admit that that I have never been all that confident at roasting chicken, and therefore in the past I have not made it much.  But now that I have discovered this fool proof method of using the slow cooker I make it much more often.

The skin obviously doesn’t go as crispy as in the oven, but it still does go quite brown (and to be honest I generally don’t eat much of the skin anyhow).

By sitting the chicken on the potatoes the cooking juices collect in the bottom of the cooker, don’t throw them out – use them to make a lovely tasty gravy.

I don’t have a photo for this recipe, but will rectify that soon!

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Chicken & Pork
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 fresh whole chicken (1 -1.5kg)
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3-4 small potatoes
Method
  1. Wash potatoes and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper and paprika, by rubbing them all over the skin,
  3. Cut the lemon in half and push into the cavity of the chicken.
  4. Put the chook in the slow cooker on top of the potatoes and set the slow cooker to High for 1 hour, then turn down to low for about 8 to 10 hours, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.
  5. I don't serve the potatoes, but you could if you liked. They are there to keep the chicken off the base of the slow cooker bowl.
  6. Once cooked, carefully remove the chicken to a serving tray and slice/portion to serve. It will be so tender that it will be falling off the bone, so be careful when you move it that it doesn't all collapse!

 

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu (Bolognaise)

Beef RaguBeef ragu or Bolognaise sauce is one of the most versatile recipes to have up your sleeve when you are cooking for a family. It can be used in many ways and freezes well once cooked.
This is not really a ‘recipe’ – more a how-to. Each time I make this I vary it a little depending on what ingredients I have on hand.

I like quite a runny meat sauce (ragu) to make spaghetti bolognaise, and I prefer to cook it this way rather than in my Thermomix. I do use the Thermo at times, when I am in a hurry or have not had time to prepare this in advance. But this is how I prefer to cook it. It takes very little time to get prepared and then you just set and forget until dinner time. Which is really fantastic on nights when I am walking in the door late. I use about 700g of mince, and get two meals out of this dish. We eat one straight away with spaghetti, for bolognaise. And then I add some extra ingredients and freeze the leftovers for a second meal (which is usually cottage pie).

Start with 700g beef mince, two tins of tomatoes, some tomato paste,  an onion, some garlic and whatever vegetables you would like to include. I like to use carrots, celery and zucchini.
Put the mince into the slow cooker.
Peel and chop vegetables into chunks and add them all to the Thermomix bowl (include the onion and garlic).  Turbo pulse a few times to chop them up. I like them chopped quite fine, but you can leave them chunkier if you prefer. If you don’t have a Thermal cooker just chop by hand, use a food processor or grate.
Tip all the vegetables into the slow cooker with the meat, add the two tins of tomatoes, a large dollop of tomato paste (2 Tbsp) a splash of balsamic vinegar, a tsp of sugar, a generous glug of red wine, salt and pepper to taste and herbs of choice (include a bay leaf if you have one). Use fresh or dried herbs, whatever you have. Remember this is not an exact recipe, add flavours that you enjoy.
Use a wooden spoon to give everything a good mix through.

Set your slow cooker to low and leave it to cook for 7-8 hours. Stir a couple of times during cooking time (if you are home and near the slow cooker!)

Once cooked, remove half the ragu to serve over pasta for spaghetti bolognaise. Leave the remaining half in the slow cooker and stir through one tin of rinsed and drained chick peas, and about half a cup each of frozen peas and frozen corn. Let it sit for 10 minutes (but don’t turn the cooker back on). Remove and store in a freezer friendly container to use as cottage pie filling another day. When you are ready to make pie just defrost the meat filling, place into an oven safe casserole dish, cook and mash some potatoes to put on top, sprinkle a little grated cheese over and heat in a 180 degree oven until the the centre of the pie is piping hot.

Easy peasy! I don’t worry about browning the mince before I put it in the slow cooker. I am all for quick and easy. But feel free to brown it first in a fry pan if you like. This will make quite a runny meat sauce, if you prefer it thicker use just one can of tomatoes instead of two.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork
This is not a Thermomix recipe, but boy oh boy, it is a good recipe! If you have not heard of pulled pork before it is a way of cooking and eating pork shoulder, whereby the pork is seasoned, slow cooked, then shredded (pulled apart) and mixed with more yummy sauce and seasoning before serving. It is absolutely delicious.

You need a slow cooker to make this. I love cooking with a slow cooker, it the second most used appliance in our kitchen (after the Thermomix of course). I have had the same one for years, it is an el’ cheapo model that sports a few dents and scratches on the outer shell, but it just keeps on going. I love it for preparing tender meat, and also for the ability to prepare meals ahead. Mine is just a 4.5L model, sometimes I wish for a larger capacity bowl; when I am cooking this and corned beef it would good to be able to fit larger cuts of meat in. But for making ragu or stewed meats it is just perfect.

Anyhow, enough about the slow cooker, more about the pork! This is my favourite way to eat pork, I am not a pork chop kind of girl, I do like pork roast, but this is even better. And it extends such a long way. Once the pork is shredded it serves a crowd. And you can use the leftovers to create yummy salads, nachos,  or pork sliders the next day. I have also frozen the leftovers and then used the pork as pizza topping at a later date.

We enjoy this with salads (coleslaw is perfect), salsa, beans, apple sauce, pita bread, or tortillas. I present it as a ‘help yourself ‘ style meal; meat, salad, breads (or corn chips)  all in the middle of the table and tuck in!
So what are you waiting for? Go and get yourself some pork, drag the slow cooker out of the cupboard and give this a go. You won’t regret it – promise!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Chicken & Pork
Serves: A crowd!
Ingredients
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5kg (or thereabouts) pork shoulder (you can use rolled shoulder also)
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce (optional)
Method
  1. Place the onions and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour in the stock.
  2. Combine the sugar, spices and salt together in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels, remove the string (if it is a rolled shoulder) and rub the spice mixture all over the pork.
  3. Pace the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
  4. Once cooked, remove the pork and trim off the fat (discard). Strain the most of the liquid from the slow cooker into a bowl, and keep it aside. Don't tip it down the sink! Skim the fat off the top of the liquid.
  5. Keep the onion and solids and add back to the bowl.
  6. Using two forks pull the meat apart, shred it into pieces, add the pork back to the bowl with the barbeque sauce (if you are using it) and ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid.
  7. If you don't want to add barbeque sauce use 1 cup of cooking liquid.
  8. Mix the meat and sauces together and then serve.
Notes
You can use up to a cup of barbeque sauce if you like. The more you use the sweeter and stickier the end result is. I find half a cup is plenty but adjust to your own taste.