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Mexican beef

Various grades of minced beef are available, but for this dish choose a good-quality, lean mince and use it on the day of purchase. Cheaper grades of mince will require longer cooking and any excess fat should be skimmed from the top before serving.
If you do not have any chilli seasoning (available in jars from most supermarkets), use the same quantity of mild curry powder; this will season the beef, but will not be
sufficient to give a strong curry flavour. Chilli powder can be used, but as it is hotter than chilli seasoning, add a little at a time to the required strength.

ingredients

serves 4
500 g (1 lb) minced beef
1 - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 - 4 teaspoons chilli seasoning
2 tablespoons quick-cooking porridge oats
300 ml (1/2 pint) beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato puree
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
350 g (12 oz) can sweetcorn with sweet peppers, drained
1 large or 2 medium avocados
1 tablespoon lemon juice
100 g (4 oz) Cheddar cheese, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) cubes

method

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the beef and fry over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly until all the beef has browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon. Add the onion to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured, adding a further tablespoon oil if necessary, to prevent overbrowning.

2. Return the beef to the pan, stir in 3 teaspoons chilli seasoning, then the oats, stock, tomato puree, nutmeg, salt to taste and add a light sprinkling of pepper.

3. Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 40-45 minutes or until the oats are soft and the meat cooked.

4. Stir the drained sweetcorn and peppers into the beef mixture and continue to cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes until most of the excess liquid has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more chilli if a slightly hotter flavour is liked.

5. Just before serving, cut the avocado in half lengthways and discard the stone. Cut into quarters lengthways and peel away the skin, then cut the flesh into neat thin slices lengthways. Brush with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

6. Stir the cheese into the beef until just beginning to melt, then spoon the mixture into a warmed serving dish and arrange the avocado slices around the edge. Serve at once.

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