I think I have mentioned before in the blog that I don't often use recipes when making meals. I do like using recipes, and do use them for trying new dishes, but have also built up a decent repertoire of my own creations (often variations of popular dishes). My own do tend to vary a little every time, depending on what I have in the kitchen. One of my own versions is the meat chili I make, a recipe I developed over a decade ago, likely before I met my husband (in 2000). I don't measure spices or seasoning, so these are estimates. Please taste/season as you go.
Chili con Carne
- 2-3 cans of beans (I use a mix of chickpeas, kidney beans and one other - a navy or pinto bean. I also usually soak/cook my own. If you cook the beans for this recipe, use 1 cup of dried beans for each type you wish to cook.)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 12 or so mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large bell pepper (I prefer red, yellow or orange)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated (I keep my ginger frozen in large pieces, so they last a long time, and just grate what I need while the ginger is still frozen)
- olive oil, for sauteing
- 1lb lean ground beef (I often used ground buffalo/bison. You could also use any other ground dark red meat, like ostrich, or venison, though these will lend their unique flavours to the chili. I used to use the Ives brand "faux ground round" when I was a vegetarian, and this sort of thing works really well - it can fool carnivore humans :-)
- 3-4 drops of worcestershire sauce (to meat up your meat!)
- 1/2-1 cup water
- 2 stalks celery and 2 carrots, diced (Optional. Some people think celery and carrots don't belong in chili, just spaghetti sauce, but I do sometimes throw them in.)
- salt and pepper to taste (about 1tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper)
- 1 tbsp each of the following spices: cumin, tumeric, paprika, oregano, basil.
- 1 tsp curry
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder (omit if you don't like any spice heat in your chili, or add more if you do)
- Brown meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a Dutch oven pot (that holds 4-8litres). Set beef aside in a bowl. Saute mushrooms in that same pan, adding a bit of olive oil and a bit more salt and pepper, till lightly browned. Add to beef in same bowl.
- Cut up all vegetables. Using that same pot, add a little more olive oil, then add the onion, bell pepper, celery and carrots (if using). Saute for about 5 minutes, till vegetable are soft.
- Add garlic and ginger, and saute for 1 minute more.
- Add beans, diced tomatoes, beef and mushrooms.
- Add 1/2 cup water (if the chili seems to need more liquid later, add a little at a time to ensure a small moist bit of "broth" surround the food stuffs)
- Add all spices and herbs, plus the salt and pepper.
- Allow to simmer for 20 minutes minimum. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
I like to grate a little sharp cheddar to my bowl. Serve up to hungry friends and family. Enjoy!