I adore hot, spicy food, so it isn’t a surprise to me that family and friends consider chilli con carne my signature dish.
The phrase Chilli con Carne is Spanish and means chilli with meat, which is precisely what it is.
Although today there will be some great vegetarian chilli dishes out there, the most popular is made with beef mince. However, it is thought that some of the earliest recipes contained venison. The modern dish appears to have roots in the American west. And if you are interested in legends about food, have a read of this one:
An old legend holds that immigrants from the Canary Islands brought a recipe for chilli with them when they settled San Antonio in the early 1700s. Historians do know that chilli was a popular meal amongst cowboys and pioneers on the Western frontier.
Health Benefits of Chilli con Carne
I love including fresh chillis in my cooking as I know they contain many health benefits.
They are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which may help keep many illnesses at bay, including cancers. Chillies contain capsicum, which is known to be an anti-inflammatory and boosts circulation:
Proper circulation is key for maintaining optimal health. It ensures that blood and oxygen continuously flow throughout the body, allowing every organ to function properly.
May More’s Chilli Con Carne Recipe
My recipe has developed into its current form over several years of trying out different spices and seeing what worked for me and those I have fed!
The chillies in my recipe definitely bite back. However, the other ingredients give a smoky and orange undercurrent.
Also, I amend the ingredients to suit what I have in the fridge and cupboard. I think it is important to be creative when cooking.
Chilli con carne Ingredients — four medium portions
I will say I am not very good about measuring ingredients — I generally just guestimate amounts. So consider the following a guide, not the gospel!
- 300 gm of 5% — 12% fat of prime Beef Mince
- One chopped onion
- Half chopped pepper — colour of choice
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 200g tin of kidney beans
- Large squirt of tomato puree
- Stock made of half a meat or veg stock cube and half cup of boiling water
- Grated orange peel — level desert spoon
- Juice of a fresh orange
- Three squares of dark chocolate, chopped OR half teaspoon of coffee
- 2 fresh fresh finger chillies or birdseye chilli — chopped finely
- I dried chilli chopped or sprinkle of dried chillis
- Half teaspoon of powdered chilli (we like hot, but you can decide)
- 1 segment of garlic chopped
- Half teaspoon of “All Spice”
- Large dollop of Worcester sauce
- Half teaspoon of ground Cinnamon
- Quarter teaspoon of smoked paprika
- Pinch of sugar, sprinkle of salt
- Half a glass of red wine — drink the other half 🙂
- Half a dozen Cherry Tomatoes
- Heat a swig of olive or vegetable oil in a pan.
- Put in chopped onion, chopped pepper, chopped fresh chillis and garlic and heat until onions begin to brown. Mid-heat.
- Add mince and brown.
- Add stock. Follow with the dried chilli and smoked paprika and stir.
- Mix in the ground chilli powder, stir and leave to simmer on low for a while.
- Add chopped toms and puree— mix and heat on low for 5 min.
- Add the All Spice powder. Stir and leave bubbling over for 5 min.
- Rinse and add kidney beans — and Cinnamon powder. Mix and heat on low for 5 min.
- Add grated orange peel and your chocolate or coffee. Heat on low for 5.
- Add Worcester sauce, pinch sugar, sprinkle of salt & pepper and the squeezed juice of orange.
- Simmer on low heat for another 10 min at least — can be longer.
- When nearly done, add wine and cherry toms and simmer to reduce liquid.
If it looks dry, add a splash of water or red wine — if it looks too moist at the end, higher the heat.
Serve with rice or jacket potato.
You can replace the beef mince with a meat free substitute or another meat or vegetable preference — and also use less or more chilli depending on your taste.
We often don’t have sugar in the house, so I have been known to add a teaspoon of orange marmalade instead.