15 minutes in which to cook a meal… It takes me longer than 15 minutes to find things in the fridge, let alone cook a whole meal. But Jamie has taken that into account, and no doubt the criticisms he received for his wildly popular 30 minute meals series, and he recommends at the start of the recipe everything you will need out and in place to cook the meal in 15 minutes. If you’re a keen cook or used to chopping/slicing etc, I think that this is possible but it’s quite a short amount of time and if you took it up to 30 minutes, I still don’t think that would be bad for a weeknight supper. Another change in this book is that he has ordered the recipes into chicken, beef, etc. This is a huge improvement on 30 minute meals where I can never find the recipe I want; taking up a huge amount of the prescribed time allowance.
I’ve never been a huge fan of chilli. I tend not to like hot things just for the sake of them being hot and have never quite got past the dislike I’ve had for mince since I was a child. I think it’s the texture. I also loathe kidney beans, which I think builds up a picture of how unsuited I am to chilli but a couple of years ago, I made Rob and Ant a white chilli with Mexican lager and I liked that because you could taste the chillies and it used cannellini and butterbeans and it was fresh and light. I thought if that chilli could be better then I trusted Jamie to deliver something that didn’t seem to gruesome! I was also attracted by his treatment of the kidney beans, he sort of mushes them in a frying pan so they’re slightly crispy and slightly mushed. I found them quite pleasant!
Jamie Oliver serves his with bulgar wheat but we didn’t have any so I used rice. I think the bulgar wheat would have been better because it was quite liquidy and that would have been soaked up by the carbs. The rice sat in the juice, rather than absorbing it, but knowing this, next time I would make sure it was cooked a little longer and was a little thicker. Perhaps supplementing the passata for actual chopped tomatoes. His recipes, the quick ones, nearly always require a food processor which is quite an expensive piece of kit if you don’t own one. They are incredibly useful and worth buying but if you don’t feel you’d use it that often, I don’t think chopping and smashing it in a bowl with the back of a spoon would make a vast amount of difference. You would just need to chop things very finely. I lost my food processor a while ago, a very sad occasion, but bought one of the tiny herb chopping ones for £10 in tesco. This worked perfectly for this amount. You might struggle to make shortbread or soup in it but for pastes and marinades, breadcrumbs etc.
Jamie also roasts some chillies in the gas hob flame which he serves, blackened, along with the meal. I skipped this bit as I only had little chillies but I imagine they’d be lovely.
Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Chilli con Carne
- 200g good beef mince
- salt and pepper
- garam masala
- olive oil
- rice for 2 or bulgar wheat, couscous, a jacket potato etc.
- jar of roasted red peppers
- 200ml passata
- 4 spring onions
- 2 tsp paprika
- red chillies
- tin of kidney beans
- 50g fresh plain yoghurt
- Cook your rice, bulgar wheat etc.
- In a bowl, mix the beef mince with a spoon of garam masala and salt and pepper. Form into meatballs and place to one side. Jamie recommends wetting your hands to roll the meatballs, he says it makes it easier. I forgot.
- In a heated frying pan, fry the meatballs in olive oil until browned.
- In a mixer, blitz 3 of the roasted peppers, the passata, 2 spring onions, half the bunch of coriander and the paprika. When smooth, pour into a pan and turn the heat high. (It’s at this point Jamie advises to prick the chillies and cook them over the gas!)
- Rinse and drain the kidney beans. Tip the meatballs into the sauce and add the kidney beans to the frying pan. Fry the beans until broken and crushed. When cooked, stir the beans into the sauce.
- Serve the rice, topped with the chilli and then topped with fresh coriander, yoghurt, chopped spring onions and chillies. I also added some lemon zest, because I add this to nearly everything!