One of my favourite meals in the winter is chilli and having tried quite a few of the different ready made sauces on the marker I stumbled across this one in my local ASDA.
Now I know I really should make my chilli from scratch but lets face it a full day at work, its raining with the wind blowing and a 20 minute walk from the office just to the bus stop, never, mind 15 minutes when I get off at the other end, I am not normally in the mood to start making my chilli from scratch. At the weekend then yes I will make it myself rather than use a jar.
Discovery Chilli comes as a jar of sauce with a small plastic cap on the top containing the spices that are added separately. This plastic cap can sometimes be a little bit tricky to detach from the rest of the jar and on a couple of occasions I have managed to removed the lid of the jar also and then had to fiddle a bit to get the plastic cap away from the lid but this only happens sometimes so I can live with that. Normally the plastic cap come away fairly easily, though not so easily that you will loose this whilst carrying your shopping home.
The spices in the plastic cap are sealed in with a pull away foil lid and upon opening there is a lovely aroma of chilli powder, garlic, oregano and black pepper, this is not overpowering but very pleasant on the nostrils, don't sniff too hard though with your nose close to the powder.
The sauce itself is made up of Tomato puree, tomatoes, kidney and pinto beans, onions, jalapeno peppers and spices mentioned above. Without even opening the lid on the jar I can see the sauce is tomato based by the dark russet colour, I wouldn't go as far as saying it is tomato red as it is not. Opening the lid and smelling the sauce you can, of course, smell the tomato but you can also smell the jalapeno peppers in there also and you get the impression just from the aroma that the sauce has a good balance of ingredients.
Cooking with your sauce is easy, the instructions are on the label, but basically, sprinkle your sauce over mince, beef, pork or turkey, however, I tend to use quorn mince or Asda meat free mince as I have a real hang up about finding a bit of gristle in minced meat, but that's just me. After sprinkling your spices over the mince fry in a little oil, I would recommend a good oil or use one of the fry light spray oil varieties if you are concerned about frying anything, add the contents of the jar plus 200ml of water and cook for 30 mins - hey presto your chilli is ready. The sauce in the jar is very thick and does need a good shake to encourage it to vacate the jar, careful when doing this as you can miss your target of the pan. I generally tease it out with a spoon and then rinse the jar with the 200ml of water in order not to waste any sauce.
I tend to modify how I cook mine to my families' taste and I start with lightly frying an onion, chopped into chunks instead of finely chopped, in olive oil until it is soft, then adding the spice coated mince and sauce, a can of chopped tomatoes and a tin of kidney beans. I stumbled on this a while ago when catering for quite a few friends and wanted something easy to cook but was a bit concerned that there wasn't going to be enough to go round so added the extras to bulk it up a bit and stumbled on, what I think is the best way to deal with the sauce.
The all important taste, just with the jar and the spice this is one amazing chilli sauce and I always have a couple of jars of this in my cupboard as my whole family enjoy chilli as a meal. There is a real fine balance of the ingredients which gives the chilli a nice kick but its not too hot, nor is the tomato overpowering which tends to be the case with a lot of the others on the market. The smell is mouth watering, or at least hubby tells me that when he comes in from work and there is chilli for tea, normally he gets home after me.
Whilst the chilli is not fiery hot you do know that there is chilli present in this sauce even once you have added any extras to your personal taste as you lips get that slight tingling sensation, not a burn as you get with red hot chillies, but a mild tingle then your tongue joins in with the chilli tingle that lingers after you have finished your meal. Maybe best described in the scheme of things as a medium to hot chilli.
The taste with Jules version and the added extras - just as good but if you find that the sauce on its own it a bit hot for your taste buds the added tomatoes and kidney beans help to make it appear to taste a bit milder, though not so much as you loose all sense of the spices in your chilli. I have actually been asked for the recipe on a couple of occasions as to how I made my chilli and yes I did admit that the base was a jar and passed on the info, however, I would say that the longer you leave this simmering or pop in a slow cooker the flavour takes on an authentic chilli taste as all the juices soak into your mince - a good 3 hours I find in the slow cooker is enough.
My friends and I get together quite a lot at each others houses for parties or just a meal and a chat and quite often I make a chilli either to eat here or if it's a party one to take as we all pitch in with food. Chilli can be made up in advance and kept on a low light and is particularly handy if you are entertaining yourself.
Personally I serve my chilli with rice or taco's but you can also serve with a backed potato or potato wedges. I also like a blob of soured cream on the top and some fresh bread along side as this really does make a filling meal and make a little go a long way.
I buy my jars of sauce at Asda with a price normally around the £1.70 mark, will check and update price tomorrow after my weekly shop.
One last thing - remember to recycle your jar.
Off to stir my chilli now, hope you enjoyed the read