Toddlers & Young Children, Big Kids, Grown Ups.
I haven’t made a Chilli con Carne in ages and thought it was about time. I usually make mine with big chunks of braising beef marinaded in cumin, coriander, chilli and cinnamon following one of my favourite ever Leon recipes (The Best Chilli con Carne ever!). But this time I thought I’d go a bit more 80s retro and make something more suitable for the wee ones using good quality mince but with a super-vegging Chez Foti overthrow!. These days I seem unable to make too much without throwing in a barrage of veg, as you’ve probably noticed. As my son becomes increasingly fussy about eating his plain veggies I’m becoming increasingly cunning in my vegged up disguises! Ha, you will eat your 5-a-day my boy.
As for your choice of veggies, you can pretty much add anything you happen to have in, though I like to go with tradition on the carrots and pepper. I threw in some frozen chopped french beans (I’m trying to clear out the freezer before this year’s glut starts) and a couple of large handfuls of swiss chard from the garden. If cooking for kids go easy on the chilli. I use just ½ a teaspoon of hot chilli powder, though personally I’d like a little more heat so feel free to bump it up if you’re a chilli fiend.
Use good quality lean beef mince here, preferably some that you’ve seen the butcher mince in front of you. It really does make a difference.
This makes quite a vat of chilli, but keeps very well in the fridge for a few days or can be frozen. The first night we ate it with rice and the second in wraps with grated cheese, sour cream, lettuce, sliced tomatoes and avocados (again very 80s retro tex-mex, but nevertheless pretty darned tasty!).
Enough for 4 to 6 grown up folk, depending on greed!. Or two family dinners.
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
a red pepper, diced
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
a heaped teaspoon of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
a large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
½ to 2 teaspoons of hot chilli powder (depending on who you’re cooking for!)
500g of good quality lean minced beef
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
a handful of french beans or any other veg you so happen to have in
2 x 400g tins of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
a couple of very large handfuls of spinach or chard, finely shredded
Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Throw in the onions, garlic, carrots and pepper (or any other hard veg you want to use) and cook for about ten minutes, stirring regularly.
Stir in the cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder, salt & pepper and cook for a couple of minutes whilst continuously stirring. Add the beef and allow to brown, stirring every now and again.
Once the beef’s browned stir in the chopped tomatoes, cocoa powder and any softer veggies you’re using, in my case the french beans (but not the spinach or chard which is added later).
Cover and allow to gently bubble away on a very low heat for at least an hour adding a little water if it looks like it’s drying out. Now throw in the final ingredients of the kidney beans and spinach or chard and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Have a taste check and add more salt and pepper to suit (though no additional salt if making for littlies).