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.

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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.

Shrimp Stew (Moqueca de Camarão)

Today I was coming home from work and wondering what to make for dinner. There were some options in the freezer, but nothing that my stomach said “That’s what I wanna eat today!” And I learned once that we always have to ask our stomach what it wants to eat, because then we can even eat a smaller portion but we’ll be fully satisfied. Then I asked that question and the answer was (in Portuguese): “Moqueca de Camarão”, which we can call Shrimp Stew. I went straight to the supermarket and picked up the ingredients. Here is the result.

Shrimp Stew (Moqueca de Camarão)

Ingredients

  • 500g of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 red pepper cut into strips
  • 1 yellow pepper cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp palm oil (dendê)
  • finely chopped parsley
  • salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Season shrimp with salt, pepper and 1/4 of the coconut milk. Let it marinate while you prepare the sauce.
  2. In a saucepan, heat some olive oil and add onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the peppers and stir for another 5 minutes, until they are soft but not too cooked. Add the tomatoes (blend it first in a food processor or blender to get a smooth sauce), coconut milk and palm oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the shrimp and simmer for a few minutes just to warm them (I used already cooked shrimp). Sprinkle parsley on the top.

Serve with white rice.

Yield: 4 servings