Chilli Con Carne is a stew-like dish, usually made with beef mince, that originated in Mexico and quickly spread to the southern states of the United States, where it became the state dish of Texas.
Now that little history lesson is out of the way, Chilli Con Carne is a dish that is perfect for a variety of things, including dinner parties, barbecues, festivals, and as a lovely heartwarming dish to get you through the cold winter months. Chilli has got to be one of my favourite dishes of all time, closely rivalled by a few select Indian dishes, and I have been cooking it for in excess of ten years (not bad for a 24 year old). Throughout this time I have honed my own personal recipe that (not bragging, honest) is the best I have ever tasted.
My personal way of cooking this dish is to get the base of the Chilli con carne ready, before adding in certain condiments that complement the flavour well and putting the whole thing in a slow cooker for as long as I possibly can. From personal experience, the flavour of a chilli (or all stews really) enhances greatly when it is cooked for multiple hours at a low temperature. This recipe will guide you through my process of cooking this delicious Mexican treat, feel free to take away ingredients or add them in.
Chilli Con Carne
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 700g lean beef steak mince
- 2 medium size onions
- 1 red pepper
- 150g closed cup mushrooms (completely optional, I love mushrooms though)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2cm piece of ginger
- 2 red chillies (deseeded if you don't like it spicy)
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 400g tin of kidney beans (in chilli sauce if possible)
- 400g tin of mixed beans
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli sauce of your choice
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp English mustard
- Salt, to taste
- Long grain rice, to serve
- Turn your stove/hob on to a medium heat and pour your olive oil into a large, heavy bottomed casserole pan. I use the Pyrex slow cooker for almost anything like this, as it has excellent heat distribution and a large capacity.
- Finely slice your onions and put in the pan once the oil is hot. Fry for about 5 minutes until they have softened and turned slightly translucent
- Add in your beef mince along with finely sliced garlic, ginger, and chillies. Continue stirring until the mince is mostly browned.
- Add finely sliced red pepper and mushrooms to the pan along with your ground cumin, ground coriander, and paprika. Stir regularly and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Pour in your chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans, and mixed beans (drain if they are tinned in water) and give the whole dish a thorough mix up.
- Add the English mustard and chilli sauce to the pan, stir and bring to the boil.
- Either transfer the chilli con carne to an electric slow cooker or turn your hob down to a low heat and cover with a tight fitting lid.
- Leave to simmer on a low heat for as long as possible.
- About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve the chilli, come back and check on your chilli, have a taste test and add salt to taste.
- Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and taste again, add more lime or salt if necessary. The lime is a game changer, when I added this in I couldn't believe the difference it made to this classic Mexican cuisine.
- Serve with perfectly cooked long grain rice and enjoy!
- Rather than peeling and chopping your garlic up, you can use a good quality garlic press. It is an excellent time saving tool. You don't even need to peel the garlic before you put it in.
- The lime juice should make your chilli con carne sweet enough, but if you feel it needs to be sweeter add in some honey until it is to your taste.
Sit down, relax, and enjoy your creation. I promise you that you will never want to go back to tinned chilli again after eating this. It really isn't difficult or time consuming either, you can make the dish in around 20 minutes and leave it to cook on a low heat whilst you do other things. You can add your own twist to it by making it as spicy or mild as you like, or make it a vegetarian chilli sin carne by replacing the beef mince with another tin of beans, which is one way to reduce your food bill a significant amount.