Chilli Con Carne



The first recipe I was ever taught was Chilli Con Carne, so I thought it fitting that it be my first recipe on my blog.

I learnt to cook my original chilli with my dad; it was his top recipe and I absolutely loved it. Over the years I have tweaked it, changed it, added to it and made it my own. It’s such a versatile dish, cheap to make, can be frozen or eaten up to 5 days after cooking. You could have it every day of the week with a different accompaniment each time! It goes perfectly with rice, tortilla wrap, jacket potato, nachos, salad or even just in a bowl with a chunk of bread.

I usually make one of these up every fortnight, eat it for the next 2 main meals, and then freeze it in portions for those evenings where I just don’t have time to cook (or I’m being lazy). This recipe can easily be made vegan, as I taught my friend when I lived with her in second year. Just take out the beef, and add an extra type of bean making it a 5-bean-chilli (even add your favourite vegan cheese to serve).

Now on to the recipe…

As I said, this recipe is very low cost; I have priced it up assuming you already own all the essentials (spices, tomato puree, oil)

Ingredients: (Tesco – £6.84)
Serves: 6

Garlic
White onion
2 red birds eye chillies (can use any chillies, or none if preferred)
500g lean beef mince (5% fat) – or substitute for beans
1 green bell pepper
4 sticks of celery (I have not used but they go great)
1 tin baked beans
1 tin kidney beans
1 tin butter beans
1 tin cannellini beans (any beans will do)
1 carton tomato passatta (can use 2 tins of chopped toms)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Coconut oil (any oil will work)
Tomato puree
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chilli powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
Black pepper
(Adjust spices to your taste)

Now on to the method, you need a large saucepan with a lid, the bigger the better! A wooden spatula (or spoon), a can opener and a colander to wash your beans out (not your baked beans though)

This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and about 35 to cook, so if you are having it with jacket potato, get that in the oven. Just a note, this is one of those recipes that actually tastes better when its gone cold and reheated in the microwave, all the spices and flavour gets much stronger and it is divine!

Firstly, chop all your veg up (pepper, onion, garlic, chilli etc.). Dice your onion and garlic, cut your pepper into nice big chunks, chop celery up if using. Open all your tins; empty 3 tins of beans (kidney first to wash out properly, then butter and cannellini) wash these out with cold water and leave to drain in your sink.


Heat a pan on a medium heat (5 on electric hob), once hot add a tsp. of coconut oil (remember you can always add more oil and mince has plenty of moisture). Add the mince and brown off, bash it around to separate it up. Once all the mince is brown add the onions, garlic and chilli and turn the pan down a notch (4). Once your onions have softened (about 3/4 mins), add the peppers and fry for about 2 mins.

Next, add all your ingredients into the pan. Tip all your beans in; add your tomatoes and all your spices, in addition add half a tin of water (wash out the tomatoes tin for extra juice). Give this a good stir, turn the pan up till it starts bubbling then turn it to a low simmer and put the lid on, you want it to gently simmer (about a 2 on an electric hob), if its not bubbling turn it up. Stir this often, it will thicken as it cooks.


Leave this to simmer (stirring every 5 minutes or so) for at least 25 minutes. The longer the better for this, I often leave it cooking 40-50 minutes if I have the time, but it is cooked after at least 25 bubbling away. Give it a taste and check you don’t want any additional spices, if it’s not spicy enough add some chilli flakes or Tabasco sauce (it is spicier when you reheat the next day so be careful!).
It really is as simple as that, simple, cheap, healthy recipe that anyone can cook! Hope you enjoyed my recipe, if you have any suggestions on how to make this meal even better, or want to let me know how you found it, leave me a comment or tweet me.
Enjoy!

Chilli con carne

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A classic spicy chilli con carne high in fibre and low in fat, serve with jacket potato, rice, tortilla wrap or with salad


Ingredients

    Equipment:
  • Large saucepan with lif
  • Wooden spatula
  • Knife and chopping board
  • Can opener and colander

  • Main ingredients:
  • Garlic
  • White onion
  • 2 red birds eye chillies
  • 500g lean beef mince (5% fat)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 1 tin of baked beans, kidney beans, butter beans and cannellini beans
  • 1 carton tomato passatta
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cal spray
  • Tomato puree

  • Spices:
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • (Adjust spices to your taste)

Directions

  1. Chop all veg up (pepper, onion, garlic, chilli etc.). Dice your onion and garlic, cut your pepper into nice big chunks, chop celery up if using.
  2. Open all your bean tins (except baked beans) and wash in collander with cold water and leave to drain
  3. Heat a pan on a medium heat (5 on electric hob), once hot spray 1 cal. spray and then add the mince and brown off
  4. Once all the mince is brown add the onions, garlic and chilli and turn the pan down a notch (4)
  5. Once your onions have softened (about 3/4 mins), add the peppers and fry for about 2 mins
  6. Next, add all other ingredients into the pan. Tip all your beans in; add your tomatoes and all your spices, in addition add half a tin of water (wash out the tomatoes tin for extra juice).
  7. Give this a good stir, turn the pan up till it starts bubbling then turn it to a low simmer and put the lid on
  8. Stir this often (every 5-10 mins), it will thicken as it cooks.
  9. Leave this to simmer for at least 25 minutes.
  10. Taste the chilli and check you don’t want any additional spices, if it’s not spicy enough add some chilli flakes or Tabasco sauce
  11. Then heat up and serve, or leave to cool and freeze.

The King of King Street

 

Last Thursday I visited Jamie’s Italian, to find out if its title of “The King of King Street” was justified, read on.

The King of King Street, (more commonly known as Jamie’s Italian) is a former bank on King Street which was designated a grade II listed building back in 1974 and has been converted from bank to restaurant keeping many of the magnificent features and fittings, while bringing a more modern look to the décor.

Location, looks and style set Jamie’s Italian up for success; with the food to boot it really is a good restaurant.

I went to Jamie’s to celebrate two occasions; my sister graduating from her Masters and my dad’s birthday, and the setting certainly lives up to its billing. The unique style and design of the building brings life to what really is, at the end of the day, just another chain, I loved all the little detail from the Serrano ham hanging at the bar, to the chamber style toilets. It’s worth a visit even just to see the incredible converted vault.

Jamie’s is a bit pricey in general, though it does offer a very reasonable set menu (3 courses for £18.95), which has plenty of choice so we went down that path. The waiter Marco was wonderful, as someone who has worked in the food industry it’s a breath of fresh air when you receive such great customer service from a waiter. Offering us water before we asked, asking if anyone has allergens, and just being an all round great host! It really does make a big impact when the staff are friendly and make you feel welcome.
Now for the food…

To start with, I ordered a simple tomato and ricotta bruschetta, the ricotta was whipped, making it light and fluffy, not the most exquisite starter but tasty all the same. My sister Claire also had bruschetta, hers was slightly more advanced, named “Primavera bruschetta”, a blend of peas and beans with a hazelnut and pesto really brought the flavour out, and the presentation was great. Unfortunately, the service was slow, the charm and friendliness of the restaurant staff and the great company I was with meant it didn’t matter that much, only my stomach wanted to complain.

Tomato and Riccotta Bruschetta
Cured Meat Plank
Primavera Bruschetta

Mains was an easy choice for me, if there is ever prawns on the menu, 11 times out of 10 I will order them, I absolutely love prawns. I ordered the “famous” prawn linguine which had a rich tomato base with a kick of chilli, wonderfully garlicky prawns and a generous helping of linguine which satisfied all of my prawny desires. I would definitely recommend! Claire had the steak and fries, which she enjoyed, it wasn’t the most unique meal, and quite hard to get wrong, but all the same it was well presented, and perfectly cooked. The boys both had a spicy sausage casarecce (a sausage and fennel Ragu) and from the empty plates (no chance to take a photo!) I would say it was greatly enjoyed.

Prawn Linguine
Italian Steak and Fries
Finally, no matter how full I am, I always have room for a dessert, I believe it goes to a separate stomach where calories don’t count…right?! I ordered the white chocolate cheesecake, and wow…. It was unbelievably good! A crunchy biscuit base with a smooth, creamy top, served with a fresh raspberry coulis, raspberries and an amoretti crumble. I could have eaten it all over again, and again, and again. My boyfriend Rory had the molten chocolate praline pudding, which was served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. A simple combination, but executed well.
Baked White Chocolate Cheesecake
In a nutshell, a great place to visit. It’s a wonderful location with incredible décor, brilliantly friendly staff, and good food. However, for the price you are paying, you expect the experience to be perfect, and sadly it wasn’t quite. I feel with speedier service, and maybe a few small tweaks to the menu, the King really would justify its title. For now though, I would have to say it’s still a prince.
Private Dining Room – The Vault

I hope you enjoyed my blog post on Jamie’s Italian restaurant; I aim to post every Sunday with either a new review or a recipe from my collection. If you have had an experience at Jamie’s, or would like me to review a particular restaurant in Manchester, let me know, any comments are appreciated.