Thursday, 7 February 2008

Chile con Carne

Chile for when it's chilly! Which it certainly has been... I think we got snow, rain, freezing rain, sleet and ice pellets at various times yesterday. We went out in the evening and it was spitting down a combination of rain AND ice pellets at the same time; a new one on me. We were very happy to be full of nice warm chile (or chili, if you prefer.)

I originally put sweet Hungarian paprika in my chile when I needed to make a batch for some people who really don't like spicy food. I was eating it too, though, so I insisted it get SOME flavour SOME where. The paprika really did the trick and since then I always add some even if I am adding a lot more in the way of heat.

6 servings
1 1/2 hours to 2 days - 30 minutes prep time

Chili or Chile con Carne3 cups (1 1/2 pounds, 700 grams) dried kidney beans
OR 3 540-ml (19 ounce) tins of kidney beans

1 800 ml (28 ounce) tin crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato ketchup
1 large onion
4 stalks of celery
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500 grams (1 pound) stewing beef or ground beef
1 to 3 tablespoons chile powder
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika

If starting with dried beans, put them in a large pot with plenty of water to cover. Bring them to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them soak overnight. The next day, drain off the water and cover them with fresh water. Bring them to a boil, then turn off the heat and continue to let them soak. Every hour or so turn on the heat and bring them to a boil again. Give them a good stir. After 2 to 4 times, they should be cooked. This is a slow system compared to cooking them all at once at a simmer, but I like it because I am so much less likely to burn them. Beans burn easily if you don't remember to stir them while they are cooking, and I do forget, all the time. When you are ready to proceed, drain off enough of the cooking water that you can just glimpse some down amongst the beans.

If you are starting with canned beans, I suggest using three different kinds - I like white pea (navy) beans, red kidney beans and black beans, which give a nice colour mixture to the chile. Drain and rinse the beans and put them in your large pot.

Add the tomatoes and ketchup to the beans, and turn the heat on to medium-low.

Peel and chop the onion and wash and chop the celery. Sauté them in the oil and add them to the beans. Next brown the meat in the still-oily pan. When it is nearly done, add the seasonings and mix them in well. I find I need to add some salt, but be careful and remember that most premixed chile powders do contain quite a bit of salt already.

Add the meat to the beans and simmer until the meat is tender, about half an hour to 1 hour. Stir frequently. Like a lot of bean dishes, I find this to be better when re-heated the next day.


Peter M said...

Ferdzy, good timing with the chile, one of my most comforting meals.

Bellini Valli said...

I love chili con carne. I'd like to try a chicken chile one of these days.