St. Patrick’s Day is upon us once more and though the Irish appear to have forgotten how to play rugby – they got stuffed by the Italians – this stout chilli is certainly cause for celebration. Indeed, as you may have inferred, ‘stout’ refers not to the build of the dish, though it is rather meaty, but to its contents. Guinness is, of course, the most popular stout and is one that, as popular opinion would have it, the Irish drink almost perpetually from birth. Could there be a more perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal? Probably not.
Stout is a very rich, flavourful tipple, one that has been described, not infrequently, as a ‘roast dinner in a glass’. Eating chilli should be a very intense experience, full of dark flavours – dark chocolate and stout – but with a little complementary fragrance. The stalks of fresh coriander are the ideal way to achieve a slightly lighter aspect to a dish that involves spices like cumin. Furthermore, to avoid waste of coriander stalks store them in the freezer before use – a frugal solution in many ways.
Local connection: To be honest, we didn’t use Guinness in this particular dish. Instead, we opted for a slightly more local touch and purchased the rather fantastic ‘milk stout’, a rather flavourful beverage produced by the Bristol Beer Factory. Many delis and independent ale/alcohol shops in Bristol stock this fantastic stout, but if you’re not in the area any locally produced dark ale or stout will suffice (as will Guinness). Should you hail from the Southville area I recommend the aptly named Southville Deli.
For more idea about what you could cook this St. Patrick’s Day, why not give my simple recipe for Porter Cake a go, or if Guinness really does take your fancy, there’s a casserole for that too…
• 400g beef mince or steak
• 2 onions, finely diced
• 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
• 1 carrot, finely diced
• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
• 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
• 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
• 1 tbsp chilli flakes
• 2 stalks fresh rosemary
• 20g dark chocolate
• Handful fresh coriander stalks, finely chopped
• 400g tinned tomatoes
• 400g kidney beans
• 500ml stout
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• Olive oil
1. Fry off the mince in a frying pan over a very high heat until browned, set aside. Dry toast the spices before grinding and adding to a large pan. Tip in onion, celery, carrot, garlic, chilli and plenty of olive oil – soften.
2. Add the meat, rosemary, tomatoes, stout, chocolate and puree to the vegetables, bring to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half with the lid on.
3. Add the kidney beans and coriander stalks, remove lid and reduce for a further half an hour. Season to taste and serve with rice and pita bread.
Cost: Reasonably good stout can be had for around £1 a can, though that doesn’t apply to local fare. Mince is an incredibly cheap cut of meat as it tends to comprise most of the offcuts and unwanted body parts. As such, this chilli should set you back no more than around £4.50 – happy St. Patrick’s Day!