The Best Non-Authentic Chilli con Carne

[recipe] This is non-authentic because real chilli con carne was originally made from dried beef and pounded dried chiles and would be rehydrated when cooked and eaten, and it certainly wouldn't have had tomatoes or beans anywhere near it. However, this recipe is the form which has become more practical and popular, at least outside of Texas. If you're converting from the Meat Ragu (Spag Bol) recipe, then omit the steps before adding the spices, and cook for an hour minimum (although longer is always better). Otherwise, prep time is about 30 minutes with 4-5 hours cooking. The secret is in the long cooking time, so don't skimp. -- 25ml olive oil 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 medium carrot, finely grated 2 sticks celery, finely chopped 500g mixed minced pork and beef, or just beef 1 can of Italian plum tomatoes 500g tomato passata 3 heaped dessert spoons ground cumin 2 heaped dessert spoons dried oregano 2 teaspoons smoked paprika ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot) 2 squares plain chocolate, or 6 or 7 Montezuma 100% cocoa buttons 1 can black beans or red kidney beans (optional) salt -- In a large cast-iron casserol dish, gently sweat the onion and celery in the olive oil over a low heat on the hob until translucent, then add the grated carrot and continue gently frying for another 5 minutes or so Turn up the heat and add the pork and/or beef mince. Stir to ensure the meat is well broken up, and cook until browned Add the passata and the tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes, chop up in once in the pan) Add all the spices and chocolate and stir well Cover the casserole with the lid and place into a preheated oven at 130°C for at least 4 hours, or 1 hour minimum if converting from the ragu Check after 3 hours and add some water if it's looking too dry. You can cook for even longer by adding a little extra water at the beginning and setting the oven to 120°C, or for less time by cooking at a slightly higher temperature. Add the beans if using, and cook for an additional half hour or so If you're planning to serve in burritos, make sure that the chilli is reduced enough, otherwise it can be a bit wet -- Serve with rice, or in burritos or tacos with rice, grated cheese, jalapeños and pico de gallo [end]