I’ve written about my son before. He’s a sweet, easy-going guy with a great sense of humor. He’ll soon be 13, and he’s heavily into Dub Step now, as kids will be these days. He’s an artist, a musician and a tech whiz. He’s the only one in the family I’d trust with a power tool.
Also, he’s particular when it comes to foods. Of course he loves pizza and burgers just like any other kid. He also likes sushi, though, and caper berries, he actually enjoys runny French brie, and he wouldn’t touch ketchup with a ten-foot pole.
Wonder what his favorite dish in the world is? Oddly, it’s chili con carne, so, despite of myself, I’ve become quite a seasoned maker of that old Mexican traditional. My recipe is most probably stolen, as I’ve eaten chili more times that I can remember, both here and in the States, over the years. Unlike many other cooks, I never add corn – I’m actually pretty certain that any Mexican native would call that an abomination. I may be wrong about that, I don’t really care for corn in chili, I just don’t think it adds anything to it. Be that as it may, the other day I was asked to write up what I do to my version of chili, so here goes. You will need:
300 g ground beef
4 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large handful of parsley leaves, chopped
1 large handful of cilantro, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
red beans (kidney or pinto), 3 cans
2 cans of tomato passata
dash of red wine
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
In a large stock pot, fry the ground beef in olive oil until brown, then turn down heat and add chopped onions and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Turn heat back up, add red wine, veg and herbs, canned tomatoes ad spices.
Let stew at low heat for at least 1 hour, gently stirring every once in a while. Adjust your liquid if necessary, and check your seasoning. Add the strained beans and let simmer for another half hour at least.
Again, check your liquid and seasoning at regular intervals – especially if you have a gas stove like I do – it’s humiliating to have to scrub a cooking pot only because you couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to your rice, stew, soup or chili. I know because I’ve been there, more often that I’d like.
Not unlike a stew, a good chili only gets better the second day, so should you be in a position to not have to cook the day you’re planning to eat this, by all means go ahead and make it in advance. If you reheat chili, please see paragraph above. Beans are dangerous in terms of potentially ruining your cooking pots. Delicate and spiteful legumes, it would seem.
So there – happy with your chili? Good. Open a bag of tortilla chips, make a small bowl of guac, and serve with plenty of thick sour cream.
Oh, right, guac! We always have it as a side dish for chili, and this is how I make it:
3 soft avocados, peeled, pitted
1 lemon, juiced
1 handful of cilantro leaves
3-4 green onions
salt to taste
(chili flakes and cumin, if you insist. I love it more à’l nature)
Using a stick blender, mash the ingredients above to a yummy shade of alien green paste, season the way you like it, and serve. That was easy, right?
Enjoy this completely European and entirely personal favorite way to eat chili! And please let me know how you make yours – I’m always happy to learn!