Visit the Pencil & Spoon site

This chilli is like all the other chillies out there, only it’s much better. It’s made with a bottle of imperial stout and loaded with fresh chilli peppers, including a couple of searing scotch bonnets, hence the Imperial name it’s been given.

Looking through recipes online, a number are cooked with cans of Budweiser (seriously) and occasionally a slug of bourbon. Taking this up a few levels of awesome led me straight to a chocolatey, full-on imperial stout aged in whisky barrels – BrewDog’s Paradox Isle of Arran (an extra step up would lead you to adding Tokyo*). The beer adds depth, richness and a sweetness that can’t be added from elsewhere in the food world. Just be careful not to get a stout that’s too bitter as the last thing you want is a loser-takes-all battle between Scoville and Lupulin.

No recipe for this, just a list of ingredients laid out around the kitchen like a flat-pack cupboard ready to be assembled without the instructions. The only important information: add the beer after the tomatoes but before the stock (you don’t want too much liquid and it’s better to have more beer) and cook it for a few hours in the oven, if you can. This serves about four, even though I was cooking for one.

Pork mince (about 400g). Two big onions. Finely chopped carrot. Four cloves of garlic. Lots of fresh chillis (I also added chopped scotch bonnet, plus a whole scotch bonnet to the pot). Paprika and smoked paprika. Turmeric and cumin. Salt, pepper and sugar/honey. Tomato puree. Tinned tomatoes (maybe two tins). A bottle of imperial stout (less a little for the chef). Beef stock. Kidney beans.

It’s worth cooking this for hours rather than minutes. I cooked mine for two hours, removed it from the oven for two hours and then cooked for another hour before serving. It was the most delicious chilli I’ve cooked which I can only credit to the beer adding a chocolate and booze depth that worked so well against the different levels of spice and heat. It also works really well with a beer but go for something dark and smooth like an oatmeal stout or a milk stout, something that perfectly fits the deep tomato and savoury flavours but has a cooling quality (I served mine with Meantime Chocolate but it didn't quite have enough body to hold it all together - the flavour worked well though).

Chilli: How do you make yours? Beer in it, with it, neither or both?