Chilli Con Carne
According to the infamous Spanish Dominican friar, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566), 'Sin el chile los Mexicanos ne creen que estan comiendo'. In other words, 'without chillies, Mexicans don't believe they are eating'.
Ask me what else I know about Mexican food and I would honestly have to say that I know reasonably little, other than what I have read in a few Mexican cookbooks on my shelves, and what I gleaned from chef, Victor Pisapia, who presented a Mexican cookery class for my colleagues and I at my cooking school in late 2000. That was the one and only time I have seen Mole cooked and I don't think I've tasted it since. Although there were yummy Mole dishes on the menu at a couple of (rather lively) dinners at Montezuma's in the 1990s, but I think I was really there at that time for the Margaritas!
I know that Mexican food has a long and complex history; and it is a combination of traditional Indian (Mexica) and Spanish cuisines. I know that chilies of all kinds are served at practically every meal (yes, even breakfast, think Huevos rancheros - Eggs in Chilli Sauce); and that capsicums (bell peppers) chocolate, avocado, beans, corn, jicama (yam bean), pepitas, rice, chocolate, tortillas and tomatoes also feature heavily in Mexican cooking.
Oh, and I know that I absolutely love the Mexican favourite, Chilli con Carne, or Chilli with Meat. Some might see this as a basic and ordinary dish, but I beg to differ. There is Chilli con Carne and there is CHILLI CON CARNE with va-va-voom! a la Lizzy, even I do say so. Here I share with you my recipe for Chilli con Carne. Please use the best quality, lean mince beef that you can source.
Dear readers, do you enjoy Mexican food? What's your favourite dish? Which Mexican dish do you cook at home most often?
CHILLI CON CARNE
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 large eschalot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh chilli or dried chilli (to taste)
500g lean beef mince
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), seeds and pith removed, chopped
1 x 400g can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
2 stalks celery, diced*
1/2 cup water+
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
steamed rice or tortillas, to serve
Heat the EVOO in a large saute pan. Add the eschalots and fry gently until soft. Add the chopped capsicum, celery, chilli and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then add the mince and brown it well over a medium-high heat. Then add the kidney beans (drained and rinsed), tomatoes (undrained), sea salt and pepper, and water. Stir until the chilli con carne begins to simmer, then lower the heat, pop a lid on and cook for around 30 minutes (longer if time allows). You will know when the chilli is ready, as the flavours will pop when you taste the mixture. Serve with steamed rice or tortillas. This quantity will serve 4.
* I have used baby home grown celery here, including the stalks and leaves (delicious!).
+ use the empty tomato can to add the water.
The process in pictures...
Chilli con Carne a la Lizzy - bon appetito!
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.