The Perfect Chilli


I have been eating my way around London for the last week (reviews to follow) hence the lack of posts!

When I returned home, stuffed and bleary-eyed, all I wanted was a big bowl of comforting chilli. Since the publication of ‘Heston Blumenthal at Home’ my chilli has been subject to extensive alteration. No tinned tomatoes here – fresh tomatoes are cooked down to impart a wonderful richness, aided by the addition of spiced butter.

I have adapted the recipe to make it easier for a mid-week supper. Many of the elements can be prepared in advance then added to the chilli before serving. I usually make everything a day in advance – allowing the flavours to develop overnight.


The Perfect Chilli
Serves 4 (Healthy Appetites!)


For the Chilli: 500g Finely Minced Beef, 1 Large Onion Diced, 1 Star Anise, 1 Large Carrot Diced, 2 Cloves Garlic Crushed, 1 Green Chilli Diced, 1tbsp Tomato Purée, 500g Cherry Tomatoes, 3 Large Tomatoes Diced, 350ml Red Wine, 500ml Beef Stock, 2tbsp Spiced Butter

For the Spiced Butter: 125g Unsalted Butter Softened, 1tsp Tomato Ketchup, 2tsp Ground Cumin, 1tsp Hot Chili Powder, 2tsp Smoked Paprika, 1tsp Worcestershire Sauce

To Finish: 1 Can Red Kidney Beans Washed, 2 Limes Juice & Zest, 3 Red Peppers (De-seeded, Roasted, Peeled then Chopped), Spiced Butter, Salt & Pepper, Grated Mature White Cheese, Soured Cream


1) Cook the cherry tomatoes in a little water in a covered saucepan on a medium heat for around 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down. Remove the lid and cook on low until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

3) Meanwhile, make the spiced butter. Fry the ground cumin and chilli in a little olive oil for a minute. Add all the ingredients to the butter and combine thoroughly. Wrap the butter in cling film and shape in to a log. Store the butter in the freezer.

3) Place a large saucepan (I used a Le Creuset casserole pan) on a high heat. Brown the meat thoroughly in a little olive oil. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with a little water.

4) Sweat the onion, carrot, garlic and green chilli in a little olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the star anise and tomato purée and cook for a further 5 minutes. Turn the heat up high, pour in the red wine and allow to reduce by two-thirds. Remove the star anise.

5) Add the browned mince, beef stock, cooked tomatoes, diced raw tomatoes and spiced butter. Cook uncovered on a low heat for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally. It is ready when most of the liquid has evaporated. You can now store this in the fridge, ready to be finished the following day.

6) To finish, add the kidney beans to the chilli mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and zest and red peppers. Add more spiced butter and seasoning to taste.

7) Serve with grated cheese, soured cream and some long grain rice.