The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Chilli con Carne and refried beans

I won’t, like others, claim that this is the best, the ultimate or even authentic, it just tastes bloody good. I have read, inquired and watched videos about what makes a good Chilli, I also read about the history and the supposedly origins of a true Chilli con Carne. I tried to stay true to its roots and use only South American ingredients, of course this fell at the first hurdle as beef is the main stay of chilli, though you could make it with other meat, pork, Llama, guinea pig or even human flesh (it was thought that Montezuma had the conquistador’s in mind to fill the boiling cooking pots). Also other “Old World” ingredients are onions and various herbs from the Mediterranean region. Enough to say that though the Texans lay claim to the “true Chilli” (they do hold a chilli festival in St Antonio in Texas and is considered by many to be the home of Chilli con Carne), there are many that consider they only addapted what was already a folks food "a chilli meat stew".
As said there are many that claim to be the best, I have even tried few and addapted some of their ideas, but I have, as in the idea of a true Chilli, mixed and matched, I didn’t add beans, but made refried beans a separate dish, these I made over 2 days and are eaten as a separate side dish, as are the Guacamole and the Salsa.
So let’s start at the beginning and this was to make the refried beans.
250g pinto beans
250g navy beans
Soak overnight in plenty of water, next day pour off the water and wash under running water. Then place into a pan with plenty of water and bring to the boil, boil vigorously for 10 minutes and then transferred to the slow cooker, on to low and cooked for 12 hours. While still warm I added salt and pepper, dried oregano, coriander, a good grinding of dried chillies and garlic powder (suit yourself how much, I added about 1 tsp. of each (½ tsp. of salt) gave a good stir and left to cool, transferred to the fridge to keep cool and then into a thermos container for transport. The beans are now ready for the next stage, but more about that later.
Decided to make a two stage Chilli, one entailed cooking the minced goulash beef and diced bug in the slow cooker; this was after browning in a frying pan in a little sunflower oil (do this in batches so it browns not stews). The other was using the real tough pieces, but that are full of collagen and taste, this was used to make a very tasty stock and the meat then diced and added to the chilli for its second stage cooking.
For the stock and the pre-cooked meat

1.2 kg oxtail

900g shin

1 handful of dried soup vegetables

1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 cloves
3 pimento berries
3 crushed juniper berries
1 tsp. Mustard seeds
2 tbsp.  Sunflower oil
1 heaped dsp. Vegetable stock powder (marigold)
3 litres of water
Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the onion (in chunks studded with the cloves) and garlic, soften, then add the juniper and pimento berries along with the mustard seeds allow to pop, add the shin and oxtail and brown.

Add the dried soup vegetables and pour in the water and bring to a rolling boil, skim the scum off the top as it rises, add the stock powder, give it a stir, top on and bring up to heat.

Cook for an hour and allow to cool.

Skim the fat (there will be plenty), you can either throw it away or keep it to fry things in (beef dripping heart attack)
Take the meat out of the stock with a slotted spoon and remove any remaining skin, gristle and bones. Dice the meat cover and set aside for later.
For the Chilli-con-Carne I used
1 kg cubed oberschale (goulash beef from the top of the rear legs)
800g bug (beef from the top of the shoulder)    
1 large onion diced
2 tbsp. sunflower oil
1 red paprika, stalk and seeds removed and diced
1 square of 80% chocolate
Various chillies, chilli powders, spices and a bouquet garni (consisting of a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, sprig of rosemary)
5 different sorts of chilli consisting of 2 yellow habanero’s, 3 orange pimentos, 1 red pimento, 3 red birds’ eye and a small one that I haven’t a clue. Seeds removed and diced.

I minced the diced oberschale through my trusty old hand mincer, good for the muscles and no other power required.
Dice the shoulder into 5 mm cubes, you don’t have to use a vernier measuring caliper, here a bit of guess work will suffice.

I had 5 different sorts of chilli powder, a smoked one, a hot Turkish one, a sweet Hungarian one, a pungent one and really hot cayenne.

I also used some dried spices.
Dried spices

1 tsp. Coriander seeds

1 tsp. Cumin seeds

5 cm Cinnamon bark

½ tsp. Mace

Grind the spices in an electric grinder (I normally use an old coffee grinder but that was down in NRW), these don’t need to be ground so fine (I don’t mind chomping on pieces of spice), but if you want them finer that’s up to you.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan, add the onions and soften, now add the dried ground spices, transfer these to the slow cooker.  

Next add the mince and diced beef in batches and brown transferring to the slow cooker,

for the last batch add the diced chilli and the chilli and paprika powders, stirring well, add to the rest of the beef, deglaze the pan with a ladle full of stock, add a dessert spoon of tomato puree and add to the slow cooker with the bouquet garni, set on high for a 5 hours.

I was only using the small slow cooker, so had to transfer the contents to a large saucepan adding the diced cooked oxtail and shin, and also in went the diced flesh of a red pepper.

Add a good litre of the beef stock. Heat through for a good hour, adding the chocolate at the end of the cooking time and adjust seasoning (mine didn’t need any).

Finishing off the refried beans,
Dice some smoked belly into 1cm cubes
100g of lean speck diced
1 large onion
Fry the onion in a little oil until translucent, then add the smoked belly and speck, now add the beans and fry together, this is a true cowboy

I made a Guacamole and a Salsa as an accompaniment along with taco chips, tortillas, sour cream and grated cheesebreakfast.
The Guacamole.
1 ½ avocado removed from the skin and mashed together with,
3 shallots finely diced
1 tomato seeds removed and diced
1 bird’s eye chilli diced
Juice of ½ lime
Pinch of salt
Mix all well together.

Tomato-Chilli Salsa
3 tomatoes flesh only diced
2 birds eye chilli seeds removed and diced fine
3 sundried tomatoes (in oil) sliced and diced
2 shallots diced fine
Chopped coriander
Chopped basil
Juice of ½ lime
Pinch of salt
Mix all together and at the end a good slug of olive oil.

Heat the tortillas in the oven for a couple of minutes, get everything onto the table and your ready for a real Tex/Mex meal wash it down with a nice dry red wine (Spanish or Californian will pass very well to this).

This Chilli con Carne may or may not blow you away, but it certainly hit the spot with us, it was complex, tasty and well spiced, not too hot and if others wish it hotter, then you can always have a bottle of tabasco at hand.

You will have made far too much, but chilli-con-carne is one of those dishes that you can pull out of the freezer when you can not be bothered to cook, go out for a meal or are just plain sick of the Pizzeria around the corner. You will also have a good 2 litres of the finest beef stock all ready for your next French onion soup.

The Kikoklu Spring Menu or an evening in the Healy Hall

 The Cookery Club Spring meet

We hadn’t all been together since our New Year meeting so it was decided that it was time to ring in the spring. Carolyn had kindly offered to host the event and therefore she was cooking the main course, this was to be fish. So that left us to decide what else was being done. Linda was in the middle of her move so thought it would be too much to make a course, so I said I would do the dessert and she could help me.

Kalle said he would do the very first starter, he wasn’t quite sure what but thought it may be something in filo pastry, in the end it was nothing to do with filo pastry, but was a most fantastic composition.

Marianne had decided on a Chicken Satay (I think it was a joint effort as I saw both her and Martin beavering away in the kitchen). This was served with a smashing peanut sauce.

Next came Martins Salad, a very nicely rounded mango and endive salad, the sweetness of the mango's complimenting the bitterness of the endive salad, a really nice foil for the main course to follow.

Carolyn had been at the market that morning (we had met and had a chat over a cup of coffee at one of the market stalls), Kalle had also been there, as had quite a few of our other Kiel friends, so we had a very nice tête-à- tête in the very first real warm spring morning, I shall certainly miss these regular Saturday morning get togethers.

Carolyn had ordered 2 sea-trout from one of the fish handlers. The Kiel market is one of the best markets that I know for buying fish and if you order it, they will get it for you and the price is always very reasonable. I have over the years become regular at the Fisch Lange stall and have built up a bit of a repartee with Frank the owner, he will always get you the goods and he certainly knows his fish.

I don't think that Carolyn bought at Franks stall but at another that only deals only in salmoniods, but never the less what she came away with were two magnificent beasts, the smallest being 1.5kg, wonderful monsters, with vivid red gills, bright eyes and still with their slim on the skin.

It was next to be our turn as I had plugged for the dessert, I had decided to do a real Crema Catalana accompanied with a rhubarb ginger composition with an Italian meringue hat. This has been described in the previous Blog so I will not bore you with it once again.

So now let us get the show on the road.

We all arrived together at the appointed hour (we had all travelled in Marianne’s and Martin’s car, so a big thank you from us). It was fantastic warm evening and the sun streamed in through the Balcony windows onto Carolyn's spring dressed table.

The evening started off with Sekt (German Sparkling wine) and nibbles

The cast discussing something off stage right, I do wish they would concentrate during rehearsals.

As normal quite a bit of activity took place in the kitchen, such as these two rose petals doing a bit of flower arranging
 Kalle taking a photo of me taking a photo of him
and that led into Kalles starter, he had made a fantastic vibrant green spinach ricotta starter, decorated with salmon caviar (in honour of the main course) and quails egg. It truly was a wonder, well rounded and tasted so fresh and was the perfect start to the evening’s menu. (this would make a smashing St Patrick's day starter). This is something I am sure we shall all be trying to replicate in the future.



Then off went Marianne and Martin to do their thing in the kitchen, I also popped off to make the Italian meringue and heat the rhubarb through (and also to keep an eye on them doing their thing). I was able to see the pair finishing off their composition.

Martin frying the chicken satay and a lovely pair of hands decorating the plates!

Martin serving up two plates 
And the lovely pair of hands serving up another two
I love Indonesian food (I love all food, but the Far East holds many smashing memories, of when I sailed the seven seas back in the 70s). They had already marinated the chicken satay and these needed to be fried and the peanut sauce added (this is as an normal accompaniment to many Indonesian dishes and is a part of every Dutch Riztafel, I love it, even though it leaves a dull feeling on the roof of my mouth). The discussion turned to how easy it would be to make this into a main course, by upping the portions and adding some plain rice. It really was very tasty, a big hand to Marianne and Martin (those hands get all over the place)
Marianne’s chicken satay with peanut sauce


800-900g chicken breast
12 satay skewers
1 small onion
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 dsp. soya sauce
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
60ml oil
2 fresh chillies
2 tsp. Brown sugar
1 jar crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp.  Sambal Olek  (this can be increased to suit your or your guests pain threshold)
½ tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. chicken stock powder
1 pinch of sugar
3 dsp. Ketjap Manis
0.25L Water
Coconut milk (if required)


Cut the chicken breast into 2cm thick strips ( or cubes) and thread them onto the watered satay skewers. Skin the onion and garlic and cut in half. Wash the chilli pod and remove the stalk. Now put the onion, garlic, chilli, soya sauce, coriander, cumin salt and oil into a  blender (a stick blender is good for this) and blend to a creamy sauce. Brush the satay with this and allow to marinate for at least 1 hr.
Put the peanut butter, sambal olek, lemon juice, chicken stock powder, ketjab manis and the water into a small saucepan and slowly heat the contents while constantly stirring. Bring to boiling point and allow to cook, it may at first seem a little watery but it will start to thicken, if it becomes too thick add a little water orsome coconut milk if you wish. The end result should be a creamy sauce, add sugar to taste.
You can place the skewers on a grid under a grill, or  in the oven on a baking tray at 200°C for 15-20min , but here Martin fried them in a frying pan until done crisp and brown on the outside and succulently soft on the inside. Place on a plate with the wonderful peanut sauce and serve. You can serve these with rice as a main course, but this wasn’t the main course.
Well done Marianne and Martin

Then followed a very refreshing salad of fresh mangoes and a bitter endive salad, these passed together like two gloves, each different but making a lovely pair.

Recipe (Martin’s) for endive salad with mango

 Dressing (mix the following in a clean jam jar with a lid on)
4 spoon of Orange oil (flavoured olive oil)
1 spoon of fruity vinegar
Juice of a lime
1 spoon of liquid honey (Martin used Waldhonig „forest honey“)
1 small onion, finely chopped
Parsley and chives finely chopped
½ cup of orange juice to soak
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 heads of endive salad (washed and drained)
1 large very ripe mango (peeled and sliced in cubes of about two cm, max 1 inch)
Mix well and put on the dressing just 10 mins before serving.

The salad, the wine, the friends!

In between the courses our school mistress read us a few choice pieces from a very funny foody book and as you will notice she also enjoyed a glass of red or two.

Next came the beasts, Carolyn had really excelled, but I must say,one of these would have been more than enough. She had cooked plain boiled potatoes to be served with a lemon butter sauce,  glazed carrots and a wonderful Italian ratatouille with feta cheese as accompaniments. 
Carolyn had stuffed the fish with a fine filling of diced Parma ham, fennel and garlic. Both sides brushed with butter, then salted and peppered, before being wrapped in heavy duty foil and cooked en-papillote. The parcels placed on a baking tray and into a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 30mins, this was extended by another 15 due to the thickness of the flesh. You cannot rush a fish of this size and to test if it is ready, pull the dorsal fin between the finger and thumb, when it comes out with no force it is ready. (I mean the dorsal fin not your digits ya fool).

Then the beast (it was decided that the smaller of the two would be ample and if need be another was standing ready in the wings) was ready to be stripped bear and plated up, what a feast,perfectly cooked, juicy and ever so tasty. It could also be a recipe for the future, en-papillote is such a safe way to cook fish, it steams in its own juices, with the minimum of additional liquid (a splash of wine is more than enough)
The really wonderful main course 
As and when I get the recipes I shall add them to the individual courses, I did get given them on Saturday night, but you must understand it had been a long day and we had drunk quite a bit of forget fullness water. I shall also try and get the names of the cause of the amnesia.
Thank you dear friends for making this, Lindas last evening in Kiel (though we shall continue to come to our cookery club evenings and various musical and cultural events) so unforgettable and look forward to our first meeting in Stockelsdorf.