Plenty of years back this was the first dish I have prepared on my own, but this time, unlike the first one, it turned out to be truly tasty. Honestly, the first one was a disaster…

I have used so much salt that while we were eating, it brought tears into our eyes, and there was not enough sour cream or water on Earth that could have helped it. It always brings me to a smile when it comes to my mind. 🙂

A lot happened since, I have gained some kitchen skills and learned that it is very much advised to taste your food several times while cooking it, and also that it is worth keeping fresh herbs on hand, so you can bring any simple dish to a whole new level.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil (you can use any type of oil with a high smoking point)
  • 500g minced beaf (sometimes I use the mixture of beef and pork meat)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 250g canned red kidney beans (drained)
  • 250g canned sweetcorn (drained)
  • 500g tomato passata
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco sauce or other spicy paprika/tomato sauce (optional)
  • ½ tbsp soft light brown sugar (or caster sugar)
  • 1 chicken stock cube – I use natural stock cubes without preservatives and colouring
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cubes of dark chocolate (75% cocoa dark chocolate). Optional, but I advise you to try it. It gives a marvellous extra taste to the sauce.
  • Boiled rice, sour cream and fresh basil to serve

Method

First, heat up coconut oil in a large heavy bottom pan on high heat and brown the meat until it’s at least golden brown – remember, no colour, no flavour. 🙂 Add salt and pepper to it. Scrape off the burned bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan, but don’t throw it away, they are all full of flavour; then add onion and garlic.

Keep stirring it for a few minutes until the onions soften, then add smoked paprika, ground cumin and chilli flakes.

Pour in the tomato passata, then fill up the box of the passata with water and pour that into the dish, too. Mix in Tabasco sauce and sugar, add the drained beans and corn, cover the pan with a lid and cook it on low to medium heat for about 1 hour. Keep stirring it occasionally. The longer you cook, the richer the taste is going to be.

When the sauce is nice and thick, add chocolate and fresh basil, do a quick taste check and serve it with boiled rice, sour cream and more fresh basil.

If you don’t have any dark chocolate on hand, use 1 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder and add it to the dish with the sugar and tomato sauce.

Always keep fresh herbs on hand, or even better if you grow your own at home, so you will never run out.

Ingredients and equipment I use:

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