Ok, so I’ve admitted a number of times I am a vegetarian! Which doesn’t stop me from cooking meat for other people. To me it’s been quite an interesting journey – cooking something that I don’t taste along the way. It may be a bit too early to admit, but I do think I’m getting good at determining how the dish is turning out from the scents, texture, the way it looks. And I still remember how it’s supposed to look, taste and smell.
When thinking about cold winter days and nights, the food that associates most with comfort is chili con carne. Patience is a virtue, especially when making a stew, in this case – chili. All in all it took about 2 hours. The more it simmers, the more incorporated all ingredients are, the better it tastes. My aim was to make it very hot and spicy. But there the not tasting part did the trick – I think I added a bit too little chilies, although I went for 3. Some extracts helped me get to the desired hotness level.
* 500 g minced beef
* 800 g (2 cans) canned whole peeled tomatoes
* 400 g (1 can) red kidney beans
* 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste
* 2 onions
* 2 garlic heads
* 3-4 celery stems
* 1 red bell pepper
* 3-5 chilies (judge by your tolerance for heat)
* 1 bottle dark beer
* 2 tablespoons cumin powder
* 1 tablespoon coriander
* 2 tablespoons smoked hot paprika
* Sunflower oil
* Cheddar cheese with chili
* Fresh parsley – well it does go well with the dish as a finishing touch. However I forgot to add it!
Start with meat. Heat a few tablespoons of oil and fry the beef for 10-15 minutes. The moisture needs to go and the meat needs to turn brown and crispy. Once done, transfer the beef to a large pot, where you’ll be making the chili.
Don’t wash the pan. It has all those bit and pieces of meat sticking and you want to make good use of that. Slice the onion and fry in the pan over moderate heat. In a few minutes add chopped garlic. I chopped whole chilies, with seeds – remember, I was going for very hot! Now add all other spices, leaving salt and pepper for a bit later. Fry everything in the pan so all those scents really come out!
Now get the pot with the meat on the stove. Transfer everything from the pan to the pot, pour the beer. Give it a good 10-15 minutes.
Separately, in that same pan, over a bit of oil, fry chopped celery and bell pepper. Transfer to the pot once tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer over medium heat for an hour or so. If you like it a little bit more thin, pour a glass of water, in best case – some beef stock.
Now when the chili is almost done, add the kidney beans, another 5 minutes and it’s ready to be served! Garnish with a dab of sour cream and shredded cheddar, well and fresh parsley and enjoy!