Pulled beef and black bean chilli

pulled-beef-blackbean-chilli
This is a versatile dish that’s guaranteed to please the whole family.

I like to cook it in the slow cooker but it works just as well in a pan on the stove, you simply need to allow plenty for the meat to tenderise so that it melts in the mouth.

I make the chilli with either black beans or red kidney beans which are a great source of fibre and an excellent source of the trace mineral molybenum, which helps the body detoxify sulfites. They’re also an excellent source of folate which is essential for pregnant women, particularly in the first trimester. However, if you’re paleo you can omit the beans as the dish does work without them.

Ingredients

  • 600g or approx 1.3 lb chuck steak or slow cooking casserole beef diced into chunks around 5cm or 2 inch square
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red capsicum/red bell pepper
  • 1 medium to large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups (half a litre or 1 pint beef stock or bone broth)
  • 1 x 400g tin or 12 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin or 12 oz can black beans/red kidney beans OR 250g or 9 oz cooked black beans/red kidney beans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika

Method

Note, I soak and cook all pulses and legumes myself in order to make them more digestible. Refer to the Dr Weston Price foundation for more information on the benefit of this process. Instructions are at the end of this recipe. If you don’t have time simply used tinned/canned beans.

  1. Bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat and add a little olive oil then cook the beef for a couple of minutes on each side until nicely browned (it’s likely you’ll need to do this in 2 batches so as not to overcrowd the pan). Transfer the meat to the slow cooker/crockpot or set aside
  2. Again, bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil then cook the onion, garlic and capsicum/bell pepper until the onion is just starting to brown and the vegetables are soft
  3. Add the stock, crushed tomatoes, cumin, coriander and paprika and allow to simmer for a minute then transfer to the slow cooker along with the meat and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Alternatively, transfer the meat back to the pan and simmer for ~3 hours until the meat is tender and falling apart. If cooking in a pan, you may need to add some extra water during the process if the chilli starts to dry out
  4. If using a slow cooker, once complete transfer the chili back to the frying pan and add the beans then cook for 10 minutes or so until it’s reduced to the consistency you like. If cooking on the pan, once the meat is nice and tender, pull it apart using a knife and fork then add the beans and cook for a further 10 minute.

Serve with some thick natural yoghurt (or sour cream if you’re more of a traditionalist) and plenty of fresh coriander either on a bed of brown rice or with some warm soft tacos.

Serves ~ 4 people.

Preparing and cooking red kidney/black beans

For both red kidney and black beans, soak for 12 hours in plenty of filtered water with a little acid medium (a generous tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar work well). Once the process is complete rinse well.

To cook, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes then simmer for around half an hour for black beans or one hour for red kidney beans. Test to ensure they’re cooked and if necessary, allow to simmer for a little longer.

If you prepare a large batch you can freeze portions for later use.

Fish tacos

fish-tacosAs a student living in Mexico back in 1999, I recall how delicious the fresh salsas were and how they could transform the simplest dish.

This recipe is adapted from one made by my host mother. Rather than serving it with heavy fried food it works beautifully with soft corn tortillas, thick Greek yoghurt and a nice light white fish.

Health benefits

Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a pigment that gives them their vibrant red colour. Lycopene is rich in antioxidants, supports good heart health, has been credited for fighting against a range of cancers including breast, colon and lung cancer, is beneficial for those suffering asthma and has been linked to stroke prevention.

Capsicum/bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C (most highly concentrated in the red variety). They have been linked to helping reduce bad cholesterol, manage diabetes and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that have been credited for their cancer fighting properties.

Garlic and onions are great for the immune system, limes are wonderfully alkalising and good for digestion and chillies are said to help fight infection and also reduce inflammation.

White fish provides the body with good quality lean protein while avocado compliments by providing a good dose of healthy fats. Spread some good quality thick greek yoghurt on your tortillas and you’ll also give your body a serve of nourishing probiotics.

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless firm white fish fillets such as sea bass, flathead or other similar fish of your choice – approx 800g / 1.75 lb
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Large handful coriander/cilantro leaves around 15g / 5oz
  • 1 cup good quality natural greek yoghurt
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 capsicum/(bell) pepper -I prefer to use yellow or green but red will work fine too
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 medium sized red chilli, seeds removed
  • Half a red onion
  • 1 clove garlic/ 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1.5 tbs olive oil
  • 50g/1.75 oz pitted black olives (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

For the Salsa

  1. If using a food processor, add the onion, garlic and chilli until finely chopped then add the tomatoes for a few seconds until they’re reduced to small chunks but ideally not completely smooth. Remove and drain using a sieve until the excess moisture is removed. Alternatively you can finely chop all the ingredients by hand, again drain using a sieve to remove excess liquid.
  2. Chop the avocado into small chunks and add to the mixture
  3. Stir in the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of cumin and season with salt and pepper
  4. Chop two thirds of the coriander/cilatro leaves (approx 10g or a third of an ounce) and mix through

The Fish & Corn Tortillas

  1. Heat the BBQ to a medium to high heat. If you prefer you can cook the fish in a frying pan and the tortillas in a char grill pan or according to packet instructions.
  2. Sprinkle each of the fish fillets with a little cumin, season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil
  3. Brush the tortillas with on each side with the remaining olive oil
  4. Cook the fish on the BBQ or in the frying pan for a couple of minutes each side and the tortillas on the BBQ or char grill pan for around a minute each side or until they just start to turn brown

To Serve

Enjoy the tortillas spread with plenty of natural Greek yoghurt, stuffed with the fish and salsa and topped with black olives and the remaining coriander/cilantro leaves.

For those on a paleo/low carb dinner, simply omit the tortillas.

Vary the salsa by adding fresh corn (from a single corn cob) or add extra chilli if you like things hot

Serves 4