Organic October and Autumn Suppers:
~ Bonfire Chilli with Beef, Chocolate and Pumpkin ~
crisp mornings, misty mornings, crackling leaves, vibrant berries, Old Man’s Beard in tangled hedgerows, apples on damp grass, the smell of wood smoke, bonfires, woolly scarves, boots, red mittens, duffle coats, log fires, glistening dew covered cobwebs, pumpkins, candles, piles of books on the bedside table, crumpets, casseroles, dumplings, steamed puddings, the last rose of summer, fireworks, hot chocolate, fluffy duvets, tartan rugs, fireside suppers, Arran jumpers, wellies, toasting forks, hot buttered toast, soup, toffee apples, bright stars, wind, rain, cordite, robin redbreasts, orange and scarlet, gold and russet, big socks, sausages, tomato soup, cassoulet and chilli……
……and in this chilli recipe I’m sharing with you today, is a very special ingredient, organic chocolate for a richness and depth of flavour that goes to well with the British beef and home-grown pumpkin. Whilst attending Jane Baxter’s Pop Up Kitchen at the Abergavenny Food Festival recently, I was lucky enough to take home an Organic Goodie Bag stuffed full with all sorts of delicious ingredients and products, including some GO*DO organic chocolate bars……In Italian the word GODO means to enjoy sensual pleasure. GO*DO chocolate bars are made by a third-generation Italian family in their state-of-the-art factory near the Italian Lakes. They have total control “from bean to bar “ – farming the cocoa, harvesting the beans, making the chocolate and forming the bars. Their cocoa beans are grown organically in Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Peru – all areas known for high quality cocoa. The result is superb bean quality and a truly sustainable brand, and I certainly enjoyed my bars of chocolate, which are a handy size (35g), just right to pop into my handbag.
I love the seasonal garden – the stark bare branches of trees in the winter, the primroses on grassy banks in spring, cabbage roses nodding in the warm breeze during summer, and of course the autumn garden, almost contemporary in design with piles of brightly coloured leaves punctuating the borders and purple Michaelmas daisies dancing along edges of flagstone paths……whilst perusing the web the other night, I happened upon a lovely garden design site, Floral & Hardy garden designers; their designs echo the seasons; and I love how they describe a beautiful garden as literally ‘the room outside’; a place where you can relax and enjoy the changing seasons and a place that reflects your own personality. British gardens also supply us with so many wonderful seasonal fruit and veg………in season in British gardens right now are:
Field – Mushrooms
It’s the seasonal pumpkin that I am in love with right now, that most iconic of autumn veg – carved for Halloween, roasted for soups and stews, puréed and put into pies for Thanksgiving across the pond and made into jam and chutney too….its cheery orange presence makes an autumn garden so jolly and gay, whilst providing endless meals throughout the season, as well as spook-tacular (sorry!) candlelit displays. Its earthy flavour is amazing with beef and other robust red meats, and by adding it into my chilli recipe, you are also increasing your five-a-day intake too. It’s also very handy that Nazima and Laura’s One Ingredient challenge this month is Pumpkin, as is the We Should Cocoa challenge too, hosted by Choclette and The Hungry Hinny……..so, it’s pumpkins all the way with organic October chocolate, perfect!
I hope you enjoy this recipe if you make it, it’s a perfect family meal for this time of year, and, you can adjust the chilli seasoning to suit. I have made it twice now and the second time I made it in my slow cooker (Crock Pot) and it was wonderful – I cooked it on high for 4 hours and then turned it down to low for a further 4 hours……result – meltingly tender and rich chilli with discernible pieces of pumpkin. I served it with plain boiled rice, but, American style with grated cheese, sour cream and crackers or tortilla chips would be perfect for a large gathering. I have called this chilli recipe Bonfire Chilli, as this is JUST the kind of meal that can be made for Bonfire night, (or Halloween)and it will stay warm for hours in a slow cooker (crock pot) ……that’s all for now, have a great day, see you soon, Karen.