A steaming pot of chilli

Photographer: Adam
Serves 6-8

Being the only girl of four children, and working in an office where we are sorely outnumbered almost 10 to 1 by male colleagues; I think I am qualified to make some sweeping generalisations about what men like to eat: bold, robust flavours, protein-rich, nourishing, hearty fare. Best eaten in front of a large flat screen showing (here in NZ at any rate) rugby!

This chilli is perfect game-watching food. For anyone lacking confidence in the kitchen – do not fear, you are supposed to burn the veggies, it imparts a great, smoky flavour to the sauce! (I’m looking at you Dad.)

Serve steaming hot, in bowls with either rice or warm tortillas, topped with fresh guacamole, a little fiery salsa and of course, a large glass of cold beer.


400g pork mince
400g lean beef mince
Olive oil for frying
1 each red and green capsicum
2 courgettes
2 red onions
1 short green chilli
6 vine tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 cups stock (beef or chicken)
Pinch freshly ground cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
Handful green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 – 2 chipotle chillies*
2 tsp brown sugar
1 plantain**, peeled and diced into 2cm
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced 2cm
Salt and Pepper
Juice of 1 lime
Handful fresh Oregano


1. Roughly chop red and green capsicum, courgettes and red onions into 5-6cm long pieces. Place on a lined baking tray and grill on high until they begin to blister and blacken, turning once.
2. Meanwhile, in a dry, non-stick frying pan, dry fry the whole green chilli, vine tomatoes and unpeeled garlic cloves. Turn regularly until well blistered. (The garlic will take around 5-7 minutes, the chilli and tomatoes 12-15 minutes.)
3. Place all the above cooked vegetables into a blender (peel garlic), and blend to a chunky sauce.
4. Heat a large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat and brown pork and beef mince in a little olive oil.
5. Once mince starts to crisp and stick, add chunky vegetable sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes before adding tinned tomatoes and stock. Add cloves, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, olives, and chipotle, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
6. Lastly add the plantain and apple pieces. Top up with a little extra stock if the mix is looking dry, and simmer for a further 20 minutes or until fruit is cooked through.
7. Season to taste, squeeze over lime juice, stir through fresh oregano. Serve hot.
*I used canned chipotles that came in a rich smoky sauce; dried are also great but they are often a little hotter so taste as you go. If you find chipotle hard to find, substitute with a little smoked paprika to bring out some deep smoky flavours, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat.
**If you can’t find plantains, substitute a banana