Chilli Con Carne
When it’s cold outside, there’s something very reassuring about a hot and spicy bowl of chilli con carne. Then again, devouring a large bowl with a plate of nachos on a warm summer day is just as satisfying. This tomato based stew is seasoned with chilli powder, cumin, and a collection of other aromatics that is utterly intoxicating, especially with a good dose of chili peppers. The level of spiciness is easily controlled, but for a chilihead like myself there is no greater rush than feeling that sweat break on my brow as I get caught in a torrent of endorphin-pumping ecstasy.
With origins from Texas, this chilli is all about that Tex-Mex experience. As the name implies, chili peppers are indeed an essential ingredient in this dish, though the chili you choose is entirely up to you. Weak or strong, with or without seeds and veins, it doesn’t matter. Chilli is as much about the experience as it is about the flavor.
For the recipe below, I’ve chosen to take a medium spicy direction on account that not everybody appreciates the heat, and I respect that. I do however, add some extra chili peppers and hot sauce to my own personal serving.
Chilli Con Carne:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1kg beef chuck, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 400 g ground beef
- 2 onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 bell peppers, diced
- 2 carrots grated, grated
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 habanero chilli (seeds and veins removed), minced, or use 2 jalapeño peppers for a mild heat
- 200g tomato paste
- 1 ½ liters chicken or beef stock
- 1 liter crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chilli powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 2 tbsp oregano
- 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can cannnellini beans, drained and rinsed
- cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and cold water), optional
- grated cheddar cheese
- chopped cilantro
- sliced red chilies
Note: This recipe will yield roughly 4.5-5 liters of chilli. Enough for freezing, or the annual chilli cook-off.
- In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add oil until hot. Then fry the chuck and ground beef for 4-5 minutes.
- Add onions, celery, garlic, bell peppers, habanero chili, and grated carrot. Sweat down for about 10 minutes.
- Make a well at the bottom of the pot and add the tomato paste. Stir well for 1 minute, then mix into the beef and veggies.
- Now add the chicken or beef stock, bring to a roaring boil.
- Turn heat down to medium-low and add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Now add the remaining ingredients, except for the beans.
- Turn heat down to low, and simmer, partly covered for 3 hours.
- Turn heat off and add the beans. Allow to cool completely.
- Pour into resealable containers and refrigerate until the next day.
- The next day the flavors will be more intense, just reheat quantity desired and add cornstarch slurry for thicker consistency if desired.
Garnish with fresh cilantro, cheddar cheese, and chili peppers. Or use as a dip for nachos.