A while back I published my recipe for bolognese sauce. Our eldest is starting a scheme where he cooks for us once a week, and last week he used that recipe. This week he wants to do chili con carne, so I’m posting my recipe mostly for him to follow. I hope it’s of use to others, too.
While this superficially resembles bolognese sauce, and shares many of the same ingredients, it’s a very different dish. (My wife’s tendency to refer to both of them just as “mince” is one of her few imperfections.)
While bolognese sauce is all about the long, slow simmers that bring out and blend the mediterranean flavours of the vegetables that complement the meat, chili aims for a much earthier taste, with more emphasis on the meat. It’s also much quicker to make.
Here’s how I do it.
- Chop three good-size onions and fry them in whatever fat you have. Vegetable oil is OK, butter is better; best of all is the chicken fat that you forsightedly saved from the roasting tin last Sunday. Fry until they are soft and translucent.
- Add 800 g of minced beef. Stir it in until it browns.
- Add two tins of tomatoes, chopped finely, including the juice, and mix in thoroughly.
- Add a generous teaspoon of ground cumin.
- Add a generous teaspoon of chili powder, adjusting to taste. If you add too little, you can come back and add more, but if you add too much you can’t take it back; so if in doubt err on the side of less, and keep tasting.
- Add a teaspoon of strong, unsweetened cocoa powder. You definitely do not want anything sweetened.
- Add two tins of kidney beans, having drained and discarded the liquid from the tins.
- Finely chop two to six cloves of garlic and mix them in.
- Add salt to taste. This is important: without salt, the other flavours don’t develop.
- Leave to simmer for at least half an hour, ideally longer. Ensure the heat is low enough to prevent burning.
Cook your rice in the usual way, perhaps adding a teaspoon of cumin seed. Serve with full-fat natural yoghurt on the side.