I’ve recently started buying 750g packs of minced beef from a butcher to make the likes of Rich and Meaty Bolognese, Chilli Con Carne and Enchiladas for my family. The quality of the produce (in comparison to supermarkets) is superior, but it invariably leaves me with a quandary over to what to do with any remaining mince. Sure, I could freeze it, but instead I decided to have a bash at making Chilli Salad Bowls from the Hairy Dieters for an alternative ‘pick-and-mix’ lunch.
The recipe states that you can use taco shells which are less in calories rather than tortillas, which is exactly the route I took to save on…. prep time, not calories. That would be a crazy idea, right? ;-). To my delight, these went down really well with my wife and teenage son, who loves anything that tastes like Doritos. If you have kids that are similar, then Tortilla Chilli Pie might be the recipe for you.
Recipe: Chilli Salad Bowls
Calories: 397 calories per portion (less if using taco shells rather than tortillas)
Book: Hairy Dieters – How to Love Food and Lose Weight
Prep time: Approx 20 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 40 minutes
Ingredients: 300g lean minced beef (less than 10% fat), 1 small onion (finely chopped), 2 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed), 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp hot chilli powder, 2 tbsp tomato puree, ½ tsp caster sugar, 300ml beef stock (made with 1 beef stock cube), 4 large flour tortillas, 1 tsp sunflower oil, 1 romaine lettuce or 3 baby gem lettuces (leaves thickly shredded), 3 ripe vine tomatoes (sliced), 15cm piece cucumber (sliced), 4 spring onions (trimmed and sliced), ½ lime (juice only), 40g mature Cheddar cheese (grated), 4 tbsp half-fat crème fraiche, 4 tbsp fresh tomato salsa sauce, flaked sea salt, ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £1.92 per portion
Method: Put the minced beef, onion and garlic in a medium non-stick saucepan and cook over a high heat for five minutes, stirring with two wooden spoons to break up any clumps of meat. Stir in the cumin, coriander and chilli and cook for two minutes more, stirring constantly. Add the tomato purée, sugar and beef stock and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and leave to simmer gently over a low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the chilli mixture occasionally.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the tortilla bowls. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Take a sheet of foil about 1 metre/40in long and scrunch it up into a ball about 10cm/4in in diameter. Place it in the centre of a large baking sheet.
Take a tortilla and brush the centre on one side with a little of the oil – this will help prevent it sticking to the foil. Drape the tortilla over the ball of foil, oil-side down, pinching and loosely pleating it to create a bowl shape. Bake for five minutes until the bowl shape is set and the tortilla is lightly crisped.
Take the tortilla out of the oven and carefully remove it from the foil – it should be just cool enough to handle. Place the tortilla on an upturned tumbler and press to create a flat base on which to turn the tortilla once cold. The tortilla should still be warm enough to mould to the shape of the glass. Leave to cool while you make the next bowl in the same way. Put each upturned tortilla on a plate as soon as it is ready.
Remove the lid from the pan of beef and turn the heat up high. Cook for a further 4–5 minutes, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beef is looking fairly dry. Take the pan off the heat.
Toss the lettuce with the tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions and lime juice. Divide the salad between the tortilla bowls and season with black pepper, then top with the hot mince. Coarsely grate some cheddar over each serving and add some crème fraîche and salsa. Tuck in while the beef is warm.
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