Right now it’s anything but chilly in our part of the globe but that won’t stop us from enjoying a rustic bowl of chilli con carne. Spicy and with a smoky flavor, we love this family dish. It’s a great make-ahead recipe that tastes even better the following day. Depending on time I sometimes grill the red pepper until the skin blackens. When cool, remove and discard the skin, then add the chopped red pepper to the recipe after sautéing the minced beef. Another element of flavour which is also quite delicious.
Sometimes I might use a variety of dried chillies like, chipotle powder, dark earthy ufra chilli flakes or, use a hot chilli powder instead… just depends what’s in my store cupboard. Adjust the level of spiciness and smoky flavor by adding less (or more) of whatever hot chilli and smoked paprika you use.
I like to freshly grind whole cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar, use already ground cumin if it’s more convenient. I never buy chopped tomatoes and use a pair of kitchen scissors to chop the whole tomatoes while in the can… so easy. And if you’ve gone a little crazy with the spiciness, serve a cooling bowl of plain yoghurt on the side. Serve with steamed rice or, spoon over split jacket potatoes.
Smoky Chilli Con Carne
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
600g minced beef
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon Ufra chilli, (optional)
1 teaspoon chipotle powder or hot chilli powder
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
1 x 400g can of whole tomatoes
200ml beef stock
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 x 400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
a few twists of freshly ground black pepper
sea salt, to taste
How to make:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently over medium heat until light golden. Add the red pepper and cook until slightly softened. Add the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the mince beef, cumin, ufra chili, chipotle powder and smoked paprika. Cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mince beef has changed color.
Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, beef stock, tomato puree, oregano, bay leaf and kidney beans. Add a few twists of ground black pepper and some salt to taste. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the chili con carne uncovered for about 40 minutes, stir every now and then throughout cooking. Check seasoning and serve with steamed rice.