Although I am currently having some on-off beautiful weather in Australia, I am aware that the nights are drawing in back in the UK. Although it is sad to wave goodbye to summer, the time calls for hearty winter meals and tasty autumnal recipes! With this in mind, here is my recipe today, Chilli Con Carne.
Despite the sun here, I do still love a warm meal at the end of the day, and chilli is perfect for making in batches and freezing. As well as this, it’s simple once you know how, and it can be done on a budget!
This is a great recipe from BBC GoodFood (I will link it at the bottom), my ingredients are:
- 1 Large onion
- 1 Red pepper
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 1tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1tsp Paprika
- 1tsp Ground cumin
- 500g Beef mince
- 1 Stock cube (beef)
- 400g Tin tomatoes (chopped/diced/crushed)
- 1 Square dark choc (I used 70%)
- 2tbsp Tomato puree
- 1 Tin red kidney beans
- Salt + Pepper
- Sour cream/crème fraiche
I started by preparing the veg, which was really simple. Using my amazing new garlic plate, I minced 2 cloves of garlic to a chunky paste. However, if you are not lucky enough to have an amazing garlic plate, using a mincer, or finely chopping would work too! I diced the large onion, and also roughly chopped my red pepper.
(Check my insta to see my post about the little garlic plate, and the link to where you can buy one!)
In a large pan, I started by heating a glug of oil, and, once this was hot, I added the onion, cooking until it became translucent. Once the onion was soft, I added the garlic paste and red pepper, stirring the three ingredients together.
Now time for the spices! I added all the spices by eye, however I have included the exact measurements from the recipe to make it easier. In went the paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper. If spicy food isn’t to your fancy, you could use mild chilli powder. At this point, the smells from the pan should be spicy and fragrant. It is important to make sure all the ingredients are evenly combined.
After a good stir, I left this to cook for around 5 minutes on a medium heat.
To my pan, I added the mince and slowly began breaking it apart- however, it is important to keep some of the larger chunks, as to give the chilli texture. After the meat had had a good sizzle in the pan, I carried on stirring for around 5 minutes, until all the pink had become brown. This should be done on a high heat to ensure it is cooked through.
To create the sauce, I first added the stock. Into a 300ml jug of boiling water I crumbled 1 beef stock cube. This enhances the meaty flavour and juices from the mince, whilst combining with the spices- it should REALLY be smelling good now.
Next I added the tin of tomatoes, I chose diced, just because that’s what I could grab from Aldi, however, any other variation would be perfectly fine too. I also added 2tbsp of tomato puree. So far, I’ve yet to find tomato puree in a tube in Australia, however, the organic puree I got from Aldi in a tin seems just as good, if not better.
Now time for the magic ingredient- the dark chocolate. The chocolate acts as a natural sweetener, that deepens the flavour of the tomato sauce. It is important to only add a small amount, so that the actual chocolate flavour is unidentifiable. (Note, I had to change pans here so I could use a lid!!!)
At this point, the sauce should be bubbling away. Give it a good stir and pop the lid on the pan. This should then cook on a low heat for 20 mins. I checked occasionally, to check the consistency of my sauce, and to ensure the chilli wasn’t catching on the bottom of the pan. Mine did a little, so I added a couple of tablespoons of water, which made this issue disappear straight away. Also, if it is looking a little dry, add some water too. The mixture should be looking thick, juicy and bubbling away nicely.
After the 20 minutes are up, it is time to add the last ingredient, the kidney beans. I drained and rinsed the tin and stirred the beans into the chilli mixture. Turning the heat back up, so the mixture boils again, this then cooks for another 10 mins.
When the 10 mins was over, I seasoned the chilli. The recipe does say you will need more seasoning than you anticipate, and I also found this to be true. I did end up adding a lot of salt and pepper, but as it is split into portions, I wouldn’t worry about it. The seasoning really makes the dish come together. You can do this to taste, adding a little at time, until its perfect for you.
Once this is done, and all stirred in together, replace the lid and take the chilli off the heat, it then has to stand for 10 minutes. This last 10 minutes is really worth it, allowing all the flavours to infuse. However, I was really hungry at this point, and the amazing chilli smell was very tempting- somehow, I did manage to wait the whole 10 minutes.
To serve the dish, I boiled brown rice, and added a big spoon of sour cream. Sour cream in Australia is more like crème fraiche at home, so either would be great.
Although this isn’t the most beautiful dish, it really tastes amazing, good enough that I went back for seconds (and maybe a small bowl for thirds).
Like I said, this can be made on a budget, with beans and tomatoes costing around 50p/80c a tin. Lean mince can also be bought at a good price, especially in Aldi. The extras like paprika, cumin and cayenne are some staple spices I would recommend to everyone, and I use a lot in my kitchen. It is definitely worth the time it takes to cook, and now I have lots of more portions in my freezer for colder days.