This dish combines two great comfort food favourites of mine – chilli beef and macaroni cheese. It’s one of my kids’ top meals too and a great one to make if they have friends over and they want something filling. I’ve given a recipe for the chilli, but if you already have your own failsafe chilli recipe feel free to use that and just add the cooked macaroni, soured cream and cheese and bake as per the last few steps below.
I made this one ahead of time to leave for the kids while I abandoned them to go to London for Charles’ 70th Birthday Garden Party this week. It’s a good make ahead that can be finalised with the oven bake stage at a later stage. Did I mention I was in London for a Garden Party this week? Not just any old garden party of course. This one was the first official engagement carried out by Prince Harry and his (very) new bride Meghan Markle, just three days after their widely broadcast nuptials in Windsor. Now, I’d like to make it very clear that I am NOT a Royalist in any shape or form (sorry mum), but I do work for a charity that has Prince Charles as its patron and having been there for 20 years, I, along with about a dozen of my colleagues got invited along to help him celebrate his 70th Birthday – six months early and along with about 6,000 other ‘special’ guests, but hey ho!
Wanting to have some part of the trip to London that would actually be of interest to me, I booked in at Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School for a Northern Indian Thali class and eight of my colleagues followed suit. We had a blast making a range of small vegan dishes plus chapatis to share, despite the rather dictatorial attitude of Tilly the tall redhead who was doing her best to establish some kind of order, but had an irritating approach to doing it, as though we were all just naughty and tiresome children she was being paid to look after. My other culinary enjoyment during the trip was a short visit to the infamous Dominque Ansel’s bakery, which turned out to be very close to our hotel in Victoria. We had the Cronut of the day – White Peach jam with Raspberry glaze. Yummy, but I was glad my friend Lisa and I had decided to split one between us, as it was rich and heavy and there wasn’t really room for it immediately after a feed of pub grub and shortly before heading to the Palace for afternoon tea a the garden party. Did I mention I was at Buckingham Palace?
The chilli recipe below makes enough for both the macaroni dish and chilli and rice for 4 people, so you get two meals from it.
Serves 4 | 20 mins prep plus 70 mins cooking
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped small
- 2 sticks celery, chopped small
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 750g beef mince
- 2 tsp hot chilli powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp chipotle chilli paste
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin black beans + 1 of borlotti (or use cannellini, kidney, whatever you prefer)
- splash each of balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 350g dried macaroni
- 75g soured cream
- 100g cheddar cheese grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start by sweating the onion, celery and carrot in a large pot with the oil for 10 mins or so. Add the garlic and after a few minutes, raise the heat and add the minced beef. Cook this, stirring regularly until the meat is browned all over. Now drain off any excess juice from the meat.
- Add all the spices, tomato puree and chipotle chilli paste and give it a good stir. Now add the tinned tomatoes, a splash of balsamic and a splash of red wine vinegar and also about 200ml of water (use the tomato tins for the water so you can slush out the residual juices).
- Bring this to the boil, then reduce the heat, cooking for 15 mins or so to reduce a little.
- Taste, season and add the drained tins of beans, then cook for another 15 mins or so. At this stage, cook the macaroni in a large pot of salted water for 8-9 mins.
- Drain the macaroni and return it to the hot pan. Add the soured cream and half the grated cheese and mix it all together. Now add half the quantity of chilli, reserving the other half for a later meal.
- Mix everything together and pour into a large ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and if you’re cooking straight away, add to a preheated oven (180c) and bake for 25 mins until the cheese is golden and bubbling. If you’re making it for later, cover with tinfoil, refrigerate and when ready, remove the foil and cook for 35 mins at 180c.
- Serve up and enjoy.