Chilli Con Carne

Makes around 6 portions depending on the quantity of meat.
Note: I have to cook on a budget so this has a couple of money-saving tips that will make an expensive portion of mince meat go further – but if you are lucky to be able to afford the good stuff, you can miss out the carrots and oatmeal/lentil fillers.

3 sweet potatoes
1 pack (350g-500g) of mince – beef, pork or turkey all work well but beef gives the best colour
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
2 carrots (optional, depending on how many people you are cooking for and how much meat you can afford to buy, or if you are trying to get vegetables past fussy teenagers!)
2 tablespoons oatmeal, or red lentils (again these are optional depending on how many people you are cooking for and how much meat you can afford to buy)
2 sweet peppers (red ones look best but any will do)
1 x 400-450g tin butter beans
1 x 400-450g tin aduki beans (if you can’t find these then others any will do except (of course!) for kidney beans)
chilli powder or flakes to taste (ensure it is *just* chilli and doesn’t contain any other spices…. the amount depends on whether you buy mild or hot, and what sort of heat you like)
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 tablespoon Basil
1 tablespoon Cumin
1 – 2 teaspoons Yeast Extract (NOT marmite, ensure it is a version without spices in it… Tesco’s own has been fine for me)
a shake of salt and pepper
approximately 1/2 teaspoon gravy browning (optional, see my note about artificial colours in an earlier post)
1 to 2 tablespoons cornflour, depending on how much water you’ve used
Vegetable oil

1) peel and chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes, put in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer until soft, remove from the heat and mash the sweet potato *whilst still in the cooking water*, then leave to one side.

2) heat some oil in a large pan. Finely chop the onions, chop or mince the garlic, and add both together with the meat to the pan. Fry until meat and onion are browned.

3) (optional step) grate the carrots and add to the fried meat and onion together with the oatmeal or lentils

4) stir the sweet potato and cooking water liquid into the pan, bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Add a little more water at this stage if it seems a little too thick but don’t overdo it, you can always add more water later.

5) deseed and chop the sweet peppers, and drain and rinse the tinned beans. Carefully stir both into the pan, ensuring you don’t break the beans up at all if you can help it.

6) Add the chilli (again, you can always add more but you can’t take away so be sparing, especially if you’ve got hot chilli and only like a mild dish), together with other herbs, spices, yeast extract and salt and pepper. Finally add the gravy browning if you are using it and stir well.

7) leave to simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick or burn. If it gets too thick whilst simmering, add some more water.

8) about 10 minutes before serving, check the seasoning and add extra chilli, salt and pepper to taste. If it seems watery, mix a little cornflour with cold water to form a smooth liquid and stir slowly into the chilli to thicken.

9) serve with rice and bread.

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About Tiger

dreamer. writer. thinker. sometimes all three at once.
This entry was posted in main meals, meals that usually have a tomato base, meat and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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