Well these just take the old Mexican Chilli Con Carne to a whole new level! I am always looking for ways to re-invent family favourites and when I saw a similar version of this in a magazine recently I just knew I had to make my own rendition of it. Who wants to eat the same things day in – day out? Don’t get me wrong……I still love a big old pot of chilli but I was looking for something a little more…..something heartier but on the lighter side of hearty. This would have been sensational with mash or pastry, but the cheesy cauliflower sitting proudly on top of spicy, tender chunks of beef and beans that had been infused in the slow cooker for 8 hours was exactly that…..hearty but by no means stodgy. It was outstanding!
* This recipe would be suitable for the oven if you don’t have a slow cooker. Simply brown the beef first and set aside then fry the onions, garlic & spices before adding the liquids and the beef back to the pan. Bring to a simmer and place in an ovenproof dish, cover with a lid or foil and bake at 160°C for 3-4 hours or until the beef is meltingly tender. Add the lime and coriander at the last minute and either place in individual pie dishes (as shown above) or top a large dish with the cauliflower and bake for a further 30 minutes…..
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 9 Hours (slow cooker method) $$ Low to Medium Budget
Serves 4 with Leftovers
Olive oil for frying
800gm of beef chuck steak cut in to 2.5cm pieces
1 large brown onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 tsp of ground cumin
2 tsp of ground coriander
2 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of chilli powder (halved if you like it less spicy)
1/2 tsp of dried chilli flakes
1 tbs of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of dry red wine
1/2 cup of beef stock
2 x 400gm tins of diced tomatoes
2 tbs of tomato paste
400gm tin of red kidney beans
2 tsp of sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 a bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
Sea salt and cracked pepper
For the Cauliflower:
1 small cauliflower, broken in to florets
40gm of butter
2 tbs of plain flour
2 cups of milk
1/2 bunch of chives, chopped
1 cup of grated Mexican cheese blend* (a good strong tasty will do)
1/2 tsp of paprika
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Heat a frypan to a nice high heat, add a little oil and brown the meat in batches. Once browned add to the slow cooker and then pour the red wine vinegar and red wine into the pan to deglaze it and pour that into the slow cooker as well. Loads of flavour in there!
Add the onions, garlic, spices, tomatoes, stock, beans, tomato paste and sugar to the slow cooker and season well with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and tuck a piece of baking paper over the top of the mixture before turning the slow cooker on low. Cook for 8 hours, stirring occasionally if you can but if you can’t……don’t worry! If you like you can fast track it and pop it on high for 5-6 hours or until the beef is meltingly tender.
When the slow cooker is almost ready pre heat your oven to 180°C. Heat a large saucepan and melt the butter. Season with salt and pepper and add t half the chives and cook for 30 seconds before whisking in the flour. Allow the roux to cook for about 60 seconds before pouring in the milk, a little at a time and whisking continuously until the mixture is thickened and just coming to the boil. Add 2/3 of the cheese and whisk until melted then set aside.
Either steam on the stove for 4-5 minutes or pop the cauliflower in a microwave dish with 1 tablespoon of water, cover and cook on high for 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain the water off, add the cauliflower to the cheesy sauce and stir gently to combine.
Add the lime juice and coriander to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Have a taste and adjust any seasoning if necessary. Spoon the mixture into 4 individual pie dishes or 1 large lasagne type dish. Spoon over the cauliflower and all the sauce. Top with the remaining grated cheese and sprinkle with the paprika. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining chives before serving. I served this with a simple salad of mixed lettuce, avocado, radish and coriander. Squeeze over the juice of 1/2 a lime, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!!