Beany beef chilli stew with crunchy tortilla croutons
Add beans and lentils to this stew for texture and to stretch the meat further. They’re also a good source of protein and vitamins, and cost-efficient too
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 500g braising beef (skirt, chuck or brisket all work well)
- 2onions, chopped
- 4garlic cloves, crushed
- 1tbsp ground cumin
- 2tsp ground coriander
- 2tsp smoked paprika
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 2tbsp tomato purée
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1-2 tbsp chipotle paste (optional)
- 2beef stock cubes
- 100g brown lentils
- 400g can black beans, drained
- 400g can kidney beans, drained
- 1-2 tsp light brown soft sugar (optional)
- 4corn tortilla wraps
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 100g feta, crumbled
- 50g soured cream or natural yogurt
- small bunch of coriander, leaves picked
- 1avocado, stoned, peeled, halved and sliced
- 1large red chilli, thinly sliced
- 1lime, cut into wedges
Step 1Heat half the oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat. Tip in enough beef to cover the base of the pan in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown the beef on each side, turning until it has a deep brown crust all over – this will give the stew a deep, beefy flavour. Remove to a plate using a slotted spoon and continue cooking until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Step 2Heat the remaining oil in the same pan, then tip in the onions, reduce the heat to low-medium and sizzle for 8-10 mins until soft, stirring and scraping the base of the pan to lift any browned bits.
Step 3Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and tomato purée. Stir for 1-2 mins until the spices are sizzling and aromatic, then tip in the chopped tomatoes and chipotle paste, if using, and crumble in the stock cubes. Return the beef to the pan with any resting juices, pour in 1.2 litres water, season and bring to a simmer.
Step 4Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hr 45 mins, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, tip the lentils into a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak. Drain, then add to the stew, cover again and continue to cook for 45 mins more, or until the beef and lentils are tender.
Step 5Tip in all the beans, return to a simmer and bubble for 5 mins until the beans are warmed through. If your stew is soupy and you prefer it thicker, boil, uncovered, for a few minutes more until reduced to your liking. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or chipotle paste, if you like; it may also need some sugar depending on the tomatoes you’ve used (add up to 2 tsp). Will keep chilled for two days or frozen for two months. Leave to cool completely first.
Step 6If making the tortilla croutons, cut the wraps into small triangles and heat enough oil to cover the base of a deep frying pan. Fry over a medium heat for 2-3 mins, tossing in the pan until crisp. Or, simply crumble tortilla chips to make a quick, crunchy topping.
Step 7Serve the stew in bowls topped with your choice of feta, soured cream or yogurt, coriander, avocado and sliced chilli, lime wedges on the side for squeezing over and the tortilla croutons. Grind over some black pepper, if you like, before serving.