I skipped a day of blogging, partly because I had run out of things to write, partly because I was feeling a bit glum and lethargic. The weather wasn’t even inspiring me, it was gloomy and dull.
But now the sun is out again and I’ve been for a walk with the dogs, who were their usual cheery selves. One of them, Jasper, will be moving to a new home in the coming months, so I’m going to jot down my chilli con carne recipe so that he, Fiona and Diarmuid (poor Diarmuid) will have their own inspiration.
I don’t want to step on the toes of Jane Brennan’s chilli con carne recipe, which is delicious and decadent, but it contains wine and sometimes, one doesn’t have wine. And sometimes one’s housemates are into food that adds days to their lives. And sometimes one’s own mother doesn’t like garlic or very spicy food, hence all of the optional ingredients below. This recipe could easily be doubled and the leftovers frozen or used in the next few days, which makes it ideal for two hungry teachers. Keep all the vegetables as chunky as possible.
Chill con carne
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
2 peppers (mixed colours if possible), deseeded and diced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic gloves, peeled and chopped (optional)
1 heaped tsp of chilli flakes or 1 chilli pepper, chopped (increase quantity if you like the heat)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
500g lean minced beef
1 beef stock cube, dissolved in 400ml of hot water
400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar/square of dark chocolate
2 tbsp tomato purée
400g can of red kidney beans
Put your pan/pot on the hob at a medium heat, adding the oil and leaving to heat for 1-2 minutes. Then cook the onions for 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent.
Add the optional garlic, peppers, carrot and spices, stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
Brown the minced beef in the pan by turning up the heat and breaking down the meat, until it is no longer pink.
Pour the beef stock and the can of tomatoes into the mix and when they are mixed in, add the sugar (or chocolate) and the tomato purée.
Bring the chilli to the boil, before turning it down and leaving it to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring it regularly.
Drain and rinse the beans and add them, leaving the mix to simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it to stand for a while before serving. The longer you can leave the flavours sink in, the better, it will taste even better the next day.
I serve with rice and peas, but you can also use sour cream and baked potatoes.
As I speak, Jasper has just tried to pull an entire pot of this chilli on to his head. It’s that good.