I’m much happier once we’re truly in comfort food season. Salads and lighter dishes are lovely but my heart belongs to big bowls of warmth, comfort and carbs. Stews, pies and crumbles seem to be my default setting and they give me the rather satisfying feeling that I’m feeding up my family for winter. A throwback to older times possibly but one that gives me great pleasure.
Chilli con carne is a regular at our table, though usually with rice or piled on top of a steamy hot baked potato. Most people think they cook a good chilli and, to be honest, you can’t go that wrong. Adjust the spiciness to your own taste, I keep ours on the milder side and Rich ups the heat with a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes on his portion. Mushrooms and red peppers are usually thrown in but an end of the week fridge bottom chilli will take whatever you have lurking in the drawer.
I wanted to try something a little different and kept thinking about a cobbler, but I was interested to see how the more traditional scone would fare. A cheese scone to be exact. Baked on top of the chilli acting, perhaps, as a sort of dumpling.
This is good. Sticks to your ribs and gives you a glow good. Though the scones don’t rise in the normal manner, which I’m assuming is down to the liquid that they absorb from the chilli, they’re tasty and, let’s face it, that’s all that really matters. A bowl of this is incredibly filling and is just what’s needed when the rain is pouring and the wind is playing catch with your garden bin.
Tasty and filling, chilli con carne with cheese scones.
- 500g lean beef mince
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery, chopped
- ½ - 1 chilli, deseeded and finely diced. Alter this to your own taste.
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- A good splodge tomato purée
- 1 stock cube or stock pot.
- 400g tin kidney beans
- 200g self raising flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ - ½ tsp mustard powder
- 50g butter or baking butter (Stork or most supermarkets do their own range), cold and cubed
- 50g cheddar cheese, grated
- ¼ pint milk, plus a little extra to brush the top of the scones
- In a hob to oven pan (I use a large cast iron saucepan) fry the onion, garlic, celery, chilli and cumin until the onion is soft. Add the mince and fry until brown.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and sprinkle over the stock cube or add in the stock pot straight from the container. Mix well.
- Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. It will reduce further once it’s in the oven so don’t let it thicken too much.
- Add the kidney beans and stir through.
- Preheat the oven to 210c
- Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl and rub in the butter. Stir through the grated cheese and then, with a blunt knife, mix in the milk. You may not need all of it so add about ¾’s and see if you need more. A soft dough should form.
- Dust the work surface with a little flour and turn the dough out of the bowl.
- Pat out the dough so it’s about ½ an inch thick and cut out your scones with a circular cutter.
- Place the scones on top of the chilli. Depending on the size of the pot you may or may not cover the surface, I got 7 scones out of the dough and more or less covered the surface. Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk.
- Put the whole pan in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the scones are golden brown and the chilli bubbling.
Scones benefit from a light touch so don’t be to enthusiastic when working with the dough, they don’t need to be kneaded as you would with bread.
I found that the scones didn’t rise in the normal way, which I assume is do with the liquid they absorb from underneath, but they tasted fantastic.