Chilli con Carne dla Ramcia

This is my brother’s prime cooking offering. He found it a long time ago in BBC’s recipes, practised it over the years and now prepares it gladly whenever the opportunity allows. He loves spicy food. Hot chillies he grows in his country garden can be indeed too hot for some, yet a delight for others..Use with caution!

Below you have the rough configuration for 4 dinner portions. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a day or two, or frozen (tightly wrapped) for much longer.

  • 1 large onion,
  • 1 red pepper,
  • 2 garlic cloves,
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder,
  • 1 tsp paprika,
  • 1 tsp ground cumin,
  • 500g lean minced beef,
  • 1 beef stock cube,
  • 300ml hot water,
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g can),
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram,
  • 1 tsp sugar or a small piece of chocolate (about the size of your thumbnail). Be careful not to add too much – you don’t want to be able to identify the flavour of the chocolate
  • good shake of salt and pepper,
  • about 2 tbsp tomato purée,
  • 1 can of red kidney beans (410g can),
  • to serve: sour cream and plain boiled long grain rice.
  1. Chop the onion into small dice, about 5mm square.
  2. Cut red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop.
  3. Peel and finely chop garlic cloves.
  4. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat.
  5. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob).
  6. Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent.
  7. Tip in the garlic, red pepper,  chilli powder , paprika and ground cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince.
  9. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  10. Crumble beef stock cube into 300ml hot water.
  11. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture.
  12. Open can of  tomatoes  and add these as well.
  13. Tip in dried marjoram and add a good shake of salt and pepper.
  14. Squirt in tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  15. Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
  16. Drain and rinse  kidney beans  in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot.
  17. Add sugar or chocolate (if using) when you add the beans.
  18. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry.
  19. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think.
  20. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle.

Serve with sour cream and plain boiled long grain rice.

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