Me and Bert’s chili


I’ve had Bert on curries since he was first weaned. I think if you go gentle on the chilli, heat with warm spices like garam masala and add flavour with cumin,  coriander and turmeric, even small babies can handle it.

The grated beetroot sounds mad, but it disappears into the chili and gives it a sort of subtley earthy flavour.

Served 5

Dash of olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 a red chile, finely chopped (or more to taste), or a teaspoon of dried chile flakes

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 carrot, grated, a 2 beetroot, grated

Small bunch of fresh coriander, stalks chopped, and – to garnish – its chopped leaves

500g minced beef

1 tin tomatoes, 1/3 of the tin of water

1 tin red kidney beans, drained

Fry the onion and garlic till translucent. Add the spices and grated veg and cook for a minute or two, then add the meat and brown. Stir through the chopped coriander stalks then add the tomatoes, water and kidney beans, season, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour or so. (I slow cook it in the Aga simmering oven.) Garnish with the chopped coriander and serve with rice and sour cream or yoghurt (plus grated cheese for cosy indulgence – not sure if that’s authentic, but can cheese ever be wrong?). Guacamole if you have avocado and energy.

As I write, Bert is on his hundredth race through a large book of farm tales with his big brother Ben, pointing out every single tractor in it. Ben just said weakly, ‘shall we see if there are any other books on the shelf?’ Sadly, Bert chose a book of tractors as the replacement. I’d better crack on with serving dinner for everyone’s sake.


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