Thursday, 3 May 2012

Recipe; Chili con Carne

Recipe: Chili con Carne: boring?

No it is not; you can tweak this recipe, to make it your own adventure in chilli land!

I told you about learning to cook, well guess what?
I am still learning too, and hope to keep learning!

In the Netherlands you have those herb mixes, and sachets with ready to go herbs.
They are rather nice, if you want to rush and still cook decent food.
Then again, you are eating food that somebody else has spiced.

Now one of those mixes I still used up to 6 weeks ago, great taste.
It will only cost you 1.69 Euro, and Bob’s your uncle.
So, some time ago, guess what, the brand was not in store anymore.
Tried another, near miss I’d say, just about not spot on.
I hate that, when shops take something out of their collection, don’t you?

As I said in my personal blog, I want to see things positively, and address problems as a challenge.
If I can. . . . .
So, I can do this by myself, really I can. . . .
Uhm . . . I will . .

So, I hit the net and started searching.
I will find the right way within weeks, as I make chili con carne once a week.
Coming weeks that is, until I get the hang of it.

Most of it I already knew, fresh garlic, fresh chillies or dried if I have to, onion, mushrooms, bell peppers etc. etc.
Ground beef, high quality, and please no hamburger meat as really good meat makes the chilli!
One thing though, beans. I tried several and did not like them all.
If I use the common bean, the brown one, well then have a huge problem with flatulence. . .
With what I ate last time; if I used the methane for my car, I could have driven miles. . .
So, I found that with kidney beans the problem is far less*, by a mile or 3.
That is why I use Kidney beans.

Soo, what herbs to use?
Now that amazed me, as I use most of them in Chinese and Indian recipes, so nothing to buy.
I like that, being Dutch and all, and it's amazingly simple!
Cumin, Oregano (Mexican if possible), Black pepper and?
Now that set me on the wrong foot, with these herbs it is almost there, but not spot on.
I tried various, and kept searching and serving, but even the missus said it was just a tad off.
After weeks I found that just a pinch of cinnamon does the trick.
Once, I put in about a little dash, and that is way too much, so a pinch it is!

So now you want to make it all?
Great ! Here we go !
You need:

Ground beef 400-500 grams, the better the quality, the better the chilli!
2 onions
4 tomatoes 300 gram
2 sweet Bell peppers yellow
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh chilli if possible or powder if you have to.
250 grams of mushrooms, champignon or white table mushrooms
Cumin a teaspoon
Oregano (Mexican if possible) a teaspoon or a bit more
Black pepper, fresh ground 10-20 twists of the wrist
A pinch of cinnamon
2 spoons of tomato paste
A small tin of sweet corn
2 tins of Kidney beans
3-4 bouillon/stock cubes, or 2 cups of real stock/bouillon.
Salt if stock/bouillon is added.

Start with your ground beef, put it in the pan on medium heat with a tablespoon of oil,
get it nice and loose, and let it get brown a bit.
If fat starts coming out of the beef, put in chopped onion and the garlic.
When the onion starts to glaze, put in the chopped Bell pepper.
Now is the time to put in the first chillies chopped, use about half you wanted to use, you can add more later.
Or use the chilli powder, but do take in mind to get great chilli powder.
Not the run in the mill normal Cayenne powder if you can, Kernow chilli farm has superb 30 chilli powder !
Other companies on the net have great powders and flakes also.

After 10 minutes, add the mushrooms and powder down the bouillon/stock cubes and add them.
Or if you have real stock/bouillon, add it slowly while stirring, and then put in a teaspoon of salt as the cubes have salt in them and real stock too little.
Now as stock has Bay leaf and other spices, you do not have to put in Bay leaf.
Add your spices, do not go overboard with the cumin, as it might give some bitter.

Then add the 4 tomatoes chopped and well, and give it all 10 minutes.
Lower the heat now, so it’ll go to a simmer.
Now the mushroom and tomatoes will start losing moisture, and you will really see it all get wetter.
No problem, but don’t put a lid to it, and add the tomato paste.
Taste, taste, taste !! It should be slightly too spicy and hot, as you still need to add the rest to it.

Give it 5 minutes.

It is time to add the sweet corn and beans now, do that slowly or your meat will go into shock and get tough on you.
If it all is back to the simmer, start tasting again.
Now it is time to add salt if it needs it, and chilli.
If you add more chilli, do it finely chopped to keep the eaters from surprising hot chunks.

So now you’re about done!
This is a base recipe only, for starting chilli lovers, so you might want to tweak it a bit.
I love adding a teaspoon of Marmite when it is just not salty enough.

If it is slightly over the hill with the chilli, serve some nice bread with it, to dampen the taste buds

Have a good meal !

yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

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