Friday, 9 August 2013

Chilli con carne

Brisbane, it's Ekka time. The reason I know this has nothing to do with ferris wheels and fairy floss. It is because the cold westerlies have started and turned George Street into a wind tunnel. So instead of complaining and putting on another jacket, get to the market and grab freshly ground mince and spices, and a hearty bottle of Shiraz, and cook this Mexican favourite. It's going to be summer shortly so let's make the most of these spicy hot meals!

Serves 4


1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 heaped teaspoon hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
500g minced beef
1 beef stock cube
400g can chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Cooked rice, corn chips, coriander sprigs and sour cream, to serve


Put oil in a heavy based pan, and heat on medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft and slightly translucent.

Add in the garlic, capsicum, chilli powder, paprika and cumin. Cook for a few minutes. It should start to smell pretty good.

Turn up the heat, and add the minced beef. Break up the beef with a wooden spoon. The mince should start turning brown, and it should sizzle a bit. Keep stirring and prodding for at least five minutes. There should be no pink bits. Remember, you want the mince to fry, not stew, so keep the heat up.

Crumble the beef stock cube into 300ml boiling hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture along with the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, marjoram, sugar and a good grind of salt and pepper.

Bring the whole thing to the boil, then down it down to simmer and reduce a bit - about 20 minutes. Keep stirring to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of your pan. If it does, add a bit of water.

About now is the right time to taste test, to make sure it's spicy enough. If not spicy enough, you know what to do. And it involves chilli.

Next, add the beans, and a bit more water if you need.  Let it simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, corn chips, coriander and sour cream.