Monday, 5 January 2009

Paper Chef - January 09

We had an interesting selection of ingredients this month.
The three random ingredients selected (
see my earlier post) were: dried chili, vanilla pod & barley. The fourth ingredient was beef.
An interesting combination to say the least! A bit of thinking, head scratching, and the usual discarding of weird concoctions lead to a decision on a central American theme, as that's where most of the interesting items came from..
Don't be put off by the mixture of ingredients, I wasn't sure if this would work either, but it did! And I'll be making it again because it was so good!

So here is my paper chef entry:
Chili Beef with Barley

1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander seed, crushed
1 tsp dried chili, crushed
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 stick cassia or cinnamon quill
1/2 vanilla pod, split
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 bay leaf
500g beef mince
1 red bell pepper diced
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup port
1x 400g can tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1x 400g can red kidney beans
Salt to taste

Gently fry onion & garlic in a little oil till soft
Add the spices: coriander, cumin, dried chili, black pepper, cardamom & bayleaf; and fry a few minutes to release the aromas, then add the diced red pepper.
Add mince & brown
Add port, tomatoes & paste, and combine, breaking up the tomatoes.
Add cocoa, vanilla pod & cassia quill and mix in and bring to the boil
Cover and reduce to a simmer for 1-1 1/2 hrs till tender adding water or stock if it seems to be drying out too much
Just before serving add drained beans. Once they are warmed through remove the vanilla pod, cassia quill & bay leaf
Season to taste - I added a bit of Sambal (ground fresh chili paste) as I like a bit more of a kick

For the Barley
This is very simple & can be modified to your hearts content. You can add herbs & spices to the cooking mixture or other flavours after it has cooked. I used beef stock as the liquid but you can use any other liquid. The ratio should be roughly 1 part barley to 2 parts liquid.
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups stock
Handful raisins
Pine nuts
Sunflower seeds
Chopped parsley
Put the barley & stock into a rice cooker & cook until ready.
Add remaining ingredients & combine.
Season to taste.


Terry said...

Sounds really good - perfect for a cold winter night.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

You beat me to it, i.e. making chili - so I had to come-up with something else. ;)

Tricia said...

Aha, someone DID make chili! Your spice blend sounds very intriguing, I'll have to try it some time. Sadly, after buying the vanilla pod I never found the time to make my entry :^( But I still have them, so I'm going to try making a savory dish with it sometime soon.

Pia said...

Nice combination of seasonings.