When we make "chilli", we normally use minced beef, but I believe it is more authentic to use meat that is cut into pieces, so this time round I am using cubes of "stewing beef". I don't claim that my recipe is authentic, by the way, but I do guarantee that if you make it my way you will get a great-tasting dish!
A classic accompaniment for Chilli con Carne is cornbread (made with corn meal or polenta). My dish has a topping of cornbread, just like the layer of mashed potato on top of a Cottage Pie. If you want the recipe for my cornbread, you can find it here:- Cornbread recipe
My not-so-secret ingredient is the Chipotle, a type of chilli that is not hot, but mellow and smoky. It adds a warm savouriness to any dish. Furthermore, it is authentically Mexican! It is a dried, smoked chilli and needs to be re-hydrated before using. I use about 4 or 5 of them for a dish of this size, soaking them in hot water for an hour or two beforehand.
Chilli con Carne with cornbread topping (serves 4)
Approx 400g diced stewing beef
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
1 tin (400g) red kidney beans
500ml beef stock
4 or 5 chipotle chillis (re-hydrated, soaking water retained)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp hot chilli powder (NB: adjust according to taste and to strength of your chilli powder!)
1 large fresh chilli, de-seeded and chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Approx 3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
Heat the oven to 150C
Heat the oven to 150C
Using about 2 tbsp oil, brown the meat in a hot pan, then set aside temporarily on a plate
Use the remaining oil to cook the onion in the same pan, over a lower heat, ensuring it softens but doesn't go brown (approx 5 mins)
Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring gently to ensure it doesn't scorch
Add all the remaining ingredients except half of the stock; mix thoroughly
Cover the pan and place in oven
Cook until the meat is very tender (approx 2 hours), stirring occasionally and adding more stock if the consistency is too dry
Remove pan from oven
Remove and discard the whole chipotles
Set the dish aside to cool
Approximately 45 minutes before serving time, prepare the cornbread topping (see recipe HERE )
Pour the cornbread batter over the beef and distribute evenly - it will be quite thick and you probably won't be able to pour it.
Cook at 200C (Fan 180C) for approx 30 minutes - until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
By this time the beef should have warmed up again, but if you judge that it is not sufficiently hot before the cornbread begins to get too brown, cover it with a piece of kitchen foil for the last few minutes.
Serve, accompanied with salad or hot vegetables.(Green beans are particularly good with chilli, as is Guacamole.)
I also recommend a robust red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz - something that will not be overpowered by the spicy heat.
Note: I think I made the beef part of this dish too dry. It needed more moisture. I'll remember that next time.
P.S. The leftovers were used (as suggested above) as a filling for some jacket potatoes:-
I'm putting this forward as my entry for this week's Harvest Monday over on Daphne's Dandelions on the strength of the beans, which were home-grown ones from the freezer. Other than a few herbs I have no harvests to report this week.