Break out the corn chips and get ready to dip into a bowl of Chilli Con Carne or simply Chili as it’s known in the US. Chilli Con Carne is a stand out one pot dish of tender beef, beans and tomatoes cooked with a combination of seasonings that give it a spicy, smoky appeal.
It’s nice to give spaghetti bolognese a rest once in a while, and make a nice big batch of chilli con carne. A midweek version of this dish is just as easy and quick to prepare as a bolognese sauce.
A HOT DEBATE
Listed as an official state dish of Texas (USA), the facts surrounding where and how chilli con carne originated are hotly contested.
There seems to be some consensus that it’s an American dish with Mexican roots; not sure if all Mexicans would agree!!
In Spanish ‘chili’ refers to chilli pepper, ‘con’ translates as ‘with’, and ‘carne’ means meat. Hmm, could this dish possibly have Spanish origins?
What constitutes a ‘true and authentic’ chilli con carne is also a point of contention. Opinions differ on whether beans and tomatoes belong in this dish. A Texan chili (chilli con carne), uses cubed meat (beef or buffalo) and whole dried chillies; not a bean or tomato in sight.
- Add a ladleful or two over hot chips (french fries).
- Serve with corn chips.
- Top with sour cream, cheese and coriander and serve with a bowl of rice.
- Serve inside a taco shell with shredded lettuce, cheese and tomatoes.
- Serve over pasta.
- Hollow out a round loaf of bread and fill the cavity with chilli con carne.
- Serve over large baked potatoes.
Ok, my chilli con carne may not meet the approval of true blue Texan, but it’s still darn good!
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
- 500 g / 17.5 oz beef mince / ground beef
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 beef bouillon cubes / stock cubes
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 x 400 g / 14 oz can of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 x 400 g / 14 oz cans of tinned tomatoes (note 1)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red capsicum / red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped or grated
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper
Spice Mix (note 2)
- 3 tbsp paprika
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like it really hot)
- Heat oil in a medium pan over medium high heat. Add the onion. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and chopped capsicum / bell pepper. Saute until the onion is soft and transparent.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the beef. Saute until brown, breaking up any clumps with a fork.
- Add the spice mix and stir through until all the meat is coated. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to medium low (gently bubbling) and cook uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes or until thickened to your liking. Taste. Adjust salt and pepper if required.
- For serving suggestions please see introduction.
- Lately l’ve been using tinned cherry tomatoes because they’re really sweet and very juicy. To speed things along, l pressed / mashed them with the back of a fork. You can substitute with crushed tomatoes.
- Don’t make the mistake of buying chilli powder and thinking that will do. In Australia, store bought chilli powder is just that; pure chilli and it will be VERY hot. It’s best to make your own spice mix. I have noticed that there’s now a Mexican Chilli Powder available in supermarkets, which consists of various spices (not just chilli).