I think lots of people assume that because we live on a beef farm, we eat roast dinners every day. This couldn’t be further from the truth in our case; my husband and I often eat vegetarian meals, or meals that contain very little meat. In most of my cooking I aim for quality of meat over quantity. I try to by local, organic meat wherever possible. We are lucky to have an excellent butcher in the next village to us who supplies meat from local farms. I like to know where my food has come from and I do find the flavour to be superior, especially with minced meat. Minced beef that you get in a supermarket is okay, but I do find it lacking in any meaningful flavour. I would much rather buy beef and have it minced by the butcher in front of me. It can be more expensive but that is precisely why I choose to use less of it.
This recipe is a perfect example of just that. It won’t win any prizes for Mexican authenticity but its a delicious nutrient-dense powerhouse. It is also a brilliant way of sneaking extra vegetables into fussy eaters – there are no less than 8 vegetables in this chilli!
It also makes a wonderful meal for babies or children. It can be blended or pulsed for those who are eating purees. If you can handle the
mess utter carnage, you can feed it as finger food alongside flatbreads to dunk/scoop, or you can load spoons of it and hand them to your little one. However you choose to feed it, this chilli is packed with iron, protein and a whole host of other vitamins and minerals needed for their growth and development. I tend to pulse this for Will and add a spoon of full fat yoghurt to it, adding a little calcium hit and making it creamier.
I tend to make this with flatbreads (the most versatile bread dough) or simply with brown rice. Its also rather delicious on its own, in a bowl in front of the TV after a busy day!
This quantity serves 6 people easily. I tend to cook in larger batches and freeze portions for busy days.
- 500g lean minced beef
- 2 medium onions, finely sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled & chopped
- 2 tins of tomatoes
- 1 tin of pinto/kidney beans
- 2 courgettes, grated
- 1 large handful of chopped spinach
- 1 1/2 peppers, deseeded & chopped
- 6 tablespoons of lentils, red, green or puy – or a mixture of all three
- A little oil for softening the onion and garlic
Spices- this is just a guide, its what I like to add. I remove Will’s and then add the chilli to just the adult portions, but it really is up to you.
- 2 Tsp ground cumin
- 1Tsp paprika
- 1Tsp ground coriander
- 1 Tsp chilli powder
- Brown your minced beef in a wide base frying pan
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and sweat in a large saucepan using a little oil (I use olive oil) on a low heat. You don’t want them to colour, just soften.
- Grate the courgette using a coarse grater
- Chop the peppers finely
- Once the onion and garlic have softened add the spices (except the chilli if making this for little ones) and stir on the heat until the aromas are released
- Add the beef to the saucepan, as well as the peppers, grated courgette and lentils
- Add two tins of tomatoes and one tin of drained beans
- Add roughly a pint of water
- Simmer on a low heat for around 45 minutes with a lid on. After this time the lentils should be cooked and the sauce reduced slightly.
- Before serving add the chilli if you haven’t already and the handful of spinach.