I vividly remember making chili con carne for an American friend of mine, who announced prior to the food being served that he doubts Europeans would be able to do a decent chili, as it is an American dish. To his surprise, the chili was very tasty. So I guess I triggered his taste buds in the right way. The funny thing with chili is that it is a very simple meal to prepare, so technically you should always end up with more or less the same dish in front of you. However, each chili recipe is a little unique in its own way and so each version differs a bit from all the other recipes out there. So here is my take on chili con carne. I hope you guys enjoy it. This recipe makes approximately 4 servings.
- ½ lb (250 grams) of ground beef
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 chopped garlic clove
- 5 ounces (125 grams/1 small can) of kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
- 5 ounces (140 grams/1 small can) of sweet corn
- 2 cups (475-500 ml) of tomato puree
- 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste
- ½ cup of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- ½ tablespoon of oregano
- ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 cup of sour cream
- ½ cup of shredded cheddar
Melt the butter in a large pan or pot at medium heat and add the onion and garlic. After about 1 minute add the ground beef and cook until it is evenly brown. Then, add the sweet corn, kidney beans, tomato puree and paste, as well as the water. Stir the ingredients until the tomato paste has dissolved. Then, add the chili, ground and cayenne pepper, salt and oregano.
The most important aspect for a good chili – to me anyways – is the time you allow it to simmer at a low temperature. Ideally, allow 45 minutes to 1 hour for this and make sure to stir it occasionally. This simmering makes or breaks your chili, as it allows the spices to penetrate the entire dish and to fully interpolate their flavors. Shortly before taking the chili off the heat, the last ingredient – the cilantro – makes its grand appearance. Add it to the dish and let it simmer for another minute or two.
Serve the chili with sour cream and shredded cheddar. Leave the cheddar, if you feel the need to safe some calories as they add a significant chunk.