The recipe in this post is one that I wanted to post about a month ago but time got away from me. This is my chilli con carne recipe, a dish that I've wanted to share since I decided to start including other food on the blog besides baking. The only reason it hasn't featured sooner is because I always forget to take photos. This is my ultimate comfort food dish because it reminds me of home even though my recipe has evolved quite a bit from the original version my Mum taught me. Every Saturday when I was little we would have chilli for tea and we'd be allowed to sit in the lounge instead of at the table and watch Gladiators. As we got older, my two younger brothers and I were all taught how to cook chilli from the age of about 14-15 and we'd take it in turn to cook it each Saturday evening.
When I left home at 19 to start uni I was very glad that my Mum had taught me how to cook chilli and a few other basics so I could experiment and create my own versions of my favourite dishes. For the chilli I started off by adding red pepper then over the years I gradually started playing around with the spices to give a deeper flavour than just using chilli powder which is what my Mum did. I now use cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and chilli powder. I also add some cocoa powder to my chilli which I started doing because I love the combination of dark chocolate with chilli but I don't always have dark chocolate in the cupboard however there is always a tub of cocoa powder.
Since leaving home I've tended to cook chilli about once a month and it was the first meal I served to my boyfriend in my flat in student halls where he claimed not to like spicy food. My response was 'tough luck' as this is all I've got and it has ended up being his favourite meal and the one that he will always request whenever he's feeling a bit rundown. I'll be honest, we always eat massive portions of this and I only ever get 4 portions out of the pot though if you're not as greedy as us then this chilli will easily serve 6. I've found that chilli often tastes better reheated the next day and it also freezes very well.
Ingredients - serves 4-6 with rice, jacket potatoes, flat breads or whatever else you fancy.
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 whole cloves
1 heaped tbsp hot chilli powder - use mild chilli powder for less heat
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of allspice
1 scant tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped - ramiro peppers are my favourite to use
4 fat garlic cloves, crushed
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
500g beef mince
2 tins of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tbsp tomato puree
freshly ground black pepper (I never add any salt as I think the bacon adds enough salt)
- Start by getting the spices ready, put the cumin, coriander and cloves into a pestle and mortar and grind as finely as you can. Then add the rest of the spices and the cocoa powder and mix them all together and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole pot over a medium heat and fry the onion for a few minutes until starting to soften and then add the red pepper, bacon and garlic. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the spices and fry for a couple of minutes until fragrant and the onion-bacon mix is thoroughly coated in the spices, if things start sticking then reduce the heat slightly.
- Next add the mince, break it up with a wooden spoon in the pan and fry until browned all over. Be sure to scrape up any bits of spice that may have stuck on the bottom of the pan, the fat from the meat will help loosen them.
- Once the meat is browned, add the kidney beans followed by the tinned tomatoes and stir well so that everything is incorporated. Add the tomato puree and season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the pan to the boil and then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 45 minutes stirring once or twice, then remove the lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes to help the sauce thicken slightly.
- Serve straight away or if you're cooking for the freezer, divide into suitable containers, cool to room temperature and then freeze.
I'm convinced that my chilli is nicer than the versions my Mum and brothers cook though I'm sure they'd beg to differ. As everyone makes their chilli in a different way, I've rounded up a few different versions (both meaty and veggie) from the blogosphere.
Helen's chilli con carne
Kellie's black bean quinoa chili
Camilla's turkey chilli with baked beans
Jacqueline's vegetarian chilli wraps
Kavey's chocolate chorizo chilli con carne
I'm linking this post up with a few blogging challenges. Recipe of the week, Cook Blog Share and Tasty Tuesdays.