30 Mar, 2021

Award-winning chef Gizzi Erskine shares her smoked chocolate chilli con carne recipe with black beans, sour cream and pea guacamole, accompanied by rice and crispy shallots. Created to pair perfectly with our Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon.

Because we love nothing more than to follow our own path here at Dark Horse, we challenged Gizzi to create a recipe which was a little different to your traditional food and wine pairings and we think she’s nailed it! She shared her inspiration with us for this delicious dish as follows:

"What I didn’t get to do because of lockdown was a trip planned to go from New Orleans to New Mexico. Whilst we can’t get to Mexico we are very lucky to be able to have access to many Mexican ingredients in the UK, but this also showcases using British ingredients in a Mexican context. For example using smoked ham hock and beef in the chilli and peas for the guacamole.

Drawing from the Californian influence in modern Mexican food and big reds, this dish will transport us to sunnier climes."

Here's how to make it...


Serves 8

Prep time 15 minutes

Cooking time 3 1/2 hours



800g tomatoes

3 tbsp olive oil

4 medium onions, finely chopped

2 bulbs of garlic, cloves peeled and finely chopped

1kg beef mince

4cm thick slice (approx. 700g) of smoked belly bacon or pancetta, cut into 2 inch pieces

2 tbsp ground coriander

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp smoked sweet paprika

5 whole cloves

1 large cinnamon stick

2-3 pieces of mace

2 whole chipotle chillies, soaked

3 bay leaves

a few sprigs of thyme

2 x 400g tin of black beans, drained

200ml red wine

500ml ale

500ml fresh beef stock

50g 90% dark chocolate

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp celery salt

40ml Worcestershire sauce

sea salt flakes


3 x 10cm pieces of bone marrow



200g peas, cooked

2 ripe avocados

juice of 2 limes

1 tsp salt



4 banana shallots, finely sliced into rings

4 tbsp oil




Coriander leaves

Sour cream

Cheddar cheese, grated



Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large heavy bottomed casserole dish over a medium low heat and add the onions. Allow to slowly soften and caramelise for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sweat for the final 2-3 minutes of cooking.


Meanwhile char your tomatoes. Heat a wok or frying pan over a high flame until smoking hot. Add the tomatoes and allow the skin to blister and blacken, (for approx10 mins).


Transfer to a blender and blitz into a smooth puree. Reduce the puree in a saucepan for 5-10 mins over a medium heat.


Next, add all of the spices, bay, thyme and chillies to the onions. Fry off for 1-2 mins, before pouring in the tomatoes, followed by the ale, red wine and beef stock.


Heat a frying pan over a high heat, and once hot, fry off the pancetta until well caramelised all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.


In the same pan, add half of the mince and brown thoroughly, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Remove from the pan, set aside and repeat with the remaining mince. Transfer all of the meat to the sauce.


Cover with a lid and simmer over a very low heat for 2 and half hours, stirring occasionally.


Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190C. Roast the bone marrow in roasting tin for 25 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the cooking time, light your barbecue if using.


At the end of cooking, add the black beans and heat through for a few minutes. Finally stir through the chocolate and Worcestershire sauce. Season well with salt, celery salt and pepper. Now stick the bone marrow pieces into the chilli.


I love to finish off my chilli on a lidded barbecue to impart true smoky flavour. Place onto the grill for ten minutes to allow the bone marrow to melt into the chilli. Alternatively, you can finish it off in the oven.


To make the pea guacamole, blitz the avocados and peas in a food processor until smooth but still retaining texture. Season with the salt, lime juice and olive oil.


To make the crispy shallots, heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat and add the shallots. Fry until golden and crisp. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.


Serve with rice, a dollop of sour cream, pea guacamole, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, coriander, a slice of cornbread and finally crispy shallots, and a glass of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon!

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