Chili Con Carne
We've been developing a decent chili recipe over the years, initially derived from this one, but as it's been so heavily modified from the original, consulting it when making dinner no longer makes sense. So, in an effort to simplify cooking it for ourselves, and perhaps so that others may enjoy it, I'm sharing it here.
- 500g ground beef
- 2 zucchini, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 6 carrots, as the zucchini
- 2 onions, diced into cubes no larger than 1cm²
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped into tiny slices
- a splash of olive oil
- 2 heaped tsp hot chili powder (or 2 level tbsp if you only have mild)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds (you can never have too much cumin)
- 2 beef stock cubes
- 500ml passata (if you like your chili a little runny, 750ml might be better)
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained (or some pre-boiled raw ones)
- salt & pepper
- long grain rice (we tend to favour brown Basmati), to serve
- sour cream, to serve
The important thing to note here is that variation is encouraged. They say that while baking is a science, cooking is an art, so feel free to take some artistic license if you want to experiment.
The preparation of this meal is the hardest part. For the actual cooking, you just dump stuff into the pot in the right order and wait the right amount of time between additions.
Put a reasonably-big pot on the stove. For something like this, you probably want your Big Soup Pot. Put the heat up to medium, and when it's reasonably warm, add that splash of oil.
Once the oil is warm, add the onions, chili powders, paprika, and about half the cumin. Stir until the onion is translucent and the spices are nicely distributed. Now add the garlic and stir a little to make sure it's covered too.
Next up is the cow. Crank the heat up a little and toss it all in. Break it up and stir it regularly until it's properly brown. This part is important: before you move onto the next step, make sure the meat is cooked all the way through, otherwise it won't have the right texture in the final product.
Now add the zucchini and carrots, stirring both around again for the sake of distribution.
Things are looking a little dry at this stage, so here we add some fluids. Make some beef stock from those 2 stock cubes (in my case it was 600ml of water, but do whatever the stock box says). Mix the stock into your primordial chili along with your passata, the marjoram, and the rest of cumin. This is also a good time to add some salt & pepper to taste.
Drop the heat back down to medium and add the beans. Stir everything around, cover it, and let it simmer for about 20-30min, stirring occasionally. Toward the end of this time, take the lid off so some of the excess water has a chance to evaporate. You'll know it's ready when it has the consistency you want.
Serve over a bed of rice, topped with a dollop of sour cream.