Monday, 5 December 2011

Cooking with Marmite - Chilli con Carne and Spicy Sausage 'Patatas Bravas'

Although I'm the only one who has a food blog, I'm definitely not the best cook of my friends. Indeed, I think most of them who would identify themselves as 'people who cook' actually have much more skill. For example, my friend with the slow cooker. She had mad seasoning skillz of which I'm very, very jealous. She, like me, also has a penchant for slow cooked/casserole type dishes. A little (and only a little) of the credit for her excellent stews has to go to her slow cooker. I remember having a taste of beef stew with dumplings that she made: so warming. And another time, she cooked a patatas bravas type dish with little bits of sausage. That's what I had a crack at this week. I can't remember whether I explicitly asked her or whether I just remembered that she often used Marmite in her sauces but I decided to dabble there a little. I hate Marmite. But my recent foray into using it in stews has significantly improved my stew making.

Beef chilli (feeds 5)
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 carrots, diced
1 large red chilli, chopped finely
1 large green chilli, chopped finely

500g beef mince
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp oregano

1 x400g can kidney beans, drained
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp Marmite
Salt and pepper

Fry the onion, garlic, carrots and chilli in a little vegetable oil on a high heat until just starting to soften. Add the beef mince, cumin and thyme and brown the mince. Add the kidney beans, tomato puree, oregano and chilli powder. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the Marmite and lower the heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cover and let simmer for an hour. Serve with rice and cheese (if you want it). Interestingly, my recipe is very similar to smitten kitchen's even though I'd never seen it before.

Spicy Sausage and Potato Stew (feeds 3)
1 large onion, diced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
6 cumberland sausages
2 large potatoes, cut into bitesize pieces
2 large carrots, cut into bitesize pieces
2 tsp thyme leaves

1x 400g tinned cherry tomatoes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Marmite
Salt and pepper

Brown the sausages in a large saucepan on a high heat. Add the onion, chilli and garlic and fry 'til the onion is translucent on a medium heat. Add the potatoes, carrots and thyme then fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes, paprika and enough water to just cover. Season and add Marmite. Cover and simmer on a low heat for an hour. Also I have noticed that most of my 'recipes' recently have been barely recipes since they're all basically the same process: frying onion, garlic (sometimes chilli), meat, vegetables, herbs, liquid then simmering for a little while. Sorry, it's just what I love eating. But I must try harder.

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