Chili con Carne

Who wouldn’t like a bowl of chili in a winter night? If you haven’t tried making this TexMex dish at home, here is a quick and easy recipe that you can make on a weeknight. This version is mild, because I don’t like my food too spicy… so adjust the amount of chili powder to your taste. I like to eat my chili with rice, sour cream, cheese and spring onions. But feel free to eat with tortilla chips, if you prefer. You can also use the leftovers (if there is any) to top a pile of tortilla chips (or Doritos), add cheese and then you have delicious nachos =)

Chili con Carne

Adapted from the Good Food Magazine, May 2002

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chili powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 cans (420g each) red kidney beans
  • salt and pepper to taste (I use about 2 tsp of salt)
  • soured cream, boiled long grain rice, grated cheese and spring onions, to serve

Preparation

  1. In a pan on the hob over a medium heat, add the oil and heat for 1-2 minutes until hot. Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, chili, paprika and cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and stir constantly. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  3. For the sauce, crumble your stock cube into 300ml of hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Add the chopped tomatoes and  tip in the marjoram and the sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp of tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  4. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. Check on the pan occasionally to make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
  5. Drain and rinse the beans in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, put the lid on again and gently bubble for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chili and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chili to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Leave the chili to stand is important so the meat incorporate all the flavours of the spices.
  6. Serve with long grain rice, sour cream, grated cheese and spring onions or simply with tortilla chips.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional Information (per serving): 387 kcalories, protein 36g, carbohydrate 25g, fat 17 g, saturated fat 6g, fibre 6g, sugar 1g, salt 2.32 g

Note: This actually yields 6 servings, but I kept above as in the original recipe because of the nutritional information.

Beef Bourguignon

We got as a wedding gift a Le Creuset casserole (which was a great gift!) and I couldn’t wait to cook something that required to put it in the oven. That’s when I had the opportunity to cook this recipe, Beef Bourguignon, that is slow cooked beef in wine. It’s hard to go wrong with such combination and this is one of Delia’s recipe.

The recipe is very simple and basically you don’t have to do anything. The main ingredient here is time and patience to wait to be ready. This idea of simmering meat in wine makes any not prime cut of beef turn into a high quality dish. Believe me 😉

Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (900 g) braising steak, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) squares
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • 15 fl oz (425 ml) red Burgundy (or other red wine or dry cider)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 oz (350 g) shallots
  • 2 x 130 g packs cubetti pancetta or 225 g smoked or unsmoked streaky bacon, bought in one piece, then cut into cubes
  • 4 oz (110 g) dark-gilled mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 140°C (275°F).
  2. Bring 1 1/4 tablespoons of the oil to sizzling point in the casserole and sear the beef, a few pieces at a time, to a rich, dark brown on all sides. Transfer the meat to a plate as it browns.
  3. Next add the sliced onion to the casserole and brown that a little too.
  4. Return the meat to the casserole and sprinkle in the flour, stirring round to soak up all the juices. Then gradually pour in the wine, again stirring all the time. Add the chopped garlic, herbs and seasoning, put the lid on and transfer to the oven. Let it cook for 2 hours (you can also cook on top of the stove on very low heat for 2 hours as well).
  5. In another frying pan, using a bit more olive oil, fry the shallots and bacon to colour them lightly. Add to the casserole, together with the mushrooms, then put the lid on, return to the oven and cook for a further hour.
  6. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice, and steamed vegetables.

Pancakes

Wow… it has been a while since I posted a new recipe here, but this doesn’t mean I stopped cooking. It was just lack of time and being involved in other things.

I’ve already posted a recipe for American pancakes (the ones for breakfast) and now I’ll share with you pancakes the way my mom always make them. Several recipes takes oil in the batter, mas it’s not necessary and here is the proof. This batter is very light and you can use any filling you like: mince beef, chicken, ham and cheese, hearts of palm, etc. Use your criativity!! The pancakes with tomato sauce and cheese on the top is the tradicional way (at least in Brazil), but try them with this bechamel sauce as well. It gives a special touch to the recipe 😉

Pancakes

Ingredients

Batter (yield approx. 14 pancakes)

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cup of plain flour
  • 1 pinch of salt

Mince Beef Filling

  • 500 g of mince beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 pitted green olives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato pureé
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bechamel Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 150ml double cream
  • salt and nutmeg to taste

More Ingredients

  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • Grated muzzarela or any other grated cheese you like

Preparation

  1. Batter: blend all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Grease a nonstick frying pan using one a little bit of oil and paper towel. Heat the frying pan.
  3. Fry the batter in small batches, just enough to make very thin pancakes. Set them aside.
  4. Filling: fry the mince beef with a little bit of oil. When it’s cooked, add the onions and garlic for cook for few more minutes, just until the onions are cooked. Add the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bechamel Sauce: Melt the butter, add the flour and stir it making a roux. Add the milk slowly and whisk constantly. Bring it to a boil and wait until it thickens. Season with salt and nutmeg. Add the double cream and mix until everything is well combined.
  6. Add the filling to each pancake and roll it, then arrange them in a pyrex.
  7. Cover with tomato sauce, bechamel sauce, and sprinkle the cheese on top.
  8. Put in a pre heated oven for about 10min just to melt the cheese.

Steak Diane. First post… now in English!

This first post is dedicated to my husband, who motivated me to create a food blog and helped me to get started. The chosen recipe was Steak Diane, since its one of his favorite!!!

I first saw this recipe being prepared by Gordon Ramsay on tv and it seemed very yummy, so I decided to give it a try. The original recipes is here. What makes this dish special is not the steak, but the sauce. I’ve made this recipe for several guests we had over for dinner, and until today nobody complained 🙂

Steak Diane

Ingredients

  • 4 x small sirloin steaks, approx 200g each, trimmed of rind and excess fat
  • 3 shallots, peeled
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned
  • 15g salted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 -2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 75ml brandy (optional)
  • 225ml double cream
  • Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy based pan large enough to accommodate the 4 steaks in one layer. Quickly sauté the steaks on both sides for approx 1 minute to colour, then remove from the pan and set aside to rest. Drain the excess oil from the pan.
  3. To make the sauce for the steaks, heat some olive oil in the same pan used for the steaks. Slice the shallots and add to the pan, allow to soften briefly before slicing and adding the mushrooms with a little butter. Crush in the garlic and stir through. Add the Worcestershire sauce, then the mustard and heat through for a minute. Turn up the heat and tilt the pan away from you. Pour the brandy into the far end and allow it to ignite – be careful that the flame that flares up doesn’t singe your eyebrows! Once the alcohol has burnt off, swirl the juices around the pan. Add the cream and allow the sauce to thicken before turning down the heat.
  4. Put the steaks back into the pan and cook a little further depending on how well done you would like them. Add half the parsley to the pan.
  5. To serve, transfer the steaks to serving plates and spoon the sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining parsley on the top of the steaks and serve with your favorite side dishes. Potatoes and sauteed vegetables are good options.
Yield: 4 servings