02 December 2010

Chilli con Carne

Before Tom left for work yesterday, he issued me a challenge. He stepped out of the flat, ready to leave, and said "I fancy... chilli con carne for dinner," closed the door, and left. He knew full well that we had no rice and, more importantly, no mince. I immediately knew that I had to win, and that to do so I would make the best chilli con carne ever. Admittedly it does sound like Tom would be the winner in that case, particularly as I've never liked chilli con carne, but I also resolved to make it in the messiest way possible. Tom is the one who washes the dishes. I ended up going shopping after work.

Luckily, my chilli was so good that even I really enjoyed it - although to be fair, my tastes have developed since I last tried it, and that was only from a tin anyway. My plan was to make the chilli with biscuits, but Tom arrived home before I'd made the dough and confessed that he'd prefer rice anyway. I did make sour cream from scratch (he was very pleased), and we ate the meal in wraps. There's a lot left - enough for another night's dinner.

Chilli Con Carne with Sour Cream
Makes 4 large servings

1 onion
4 small garlic cloves
1 large carrot
3 small packs of mince (probably about 400g)
1 tablespoon gravy powder
1/2 cup chilli powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon ssamjang
1 large tin of passata
1/2 large tin's worth of red wine
2 squares of dark chocolate
1 green bell pepper
1 normal-sized tin of red kidney beans

4 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon lemon vinegar
2 tablespoons milk

Peel and dice the onion, garlic and carrot, and fry lightly in a large pan until softened. Add the mince, with gravy powder to darken it, and cook, stirring to break up clumps, until brown (about ten minutes). Add the chilli powder, curry powder, ssamjang and passata and stir. Pour red wine into the passata tin, enough to about half-fill it, and swish it around to collect all of the leftover tomato, and pour that into the pan too. Allow to simmer for fifteen minutes; add the dark chocolate and kidney beans, cover, and simmer for a further ten.

Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese, lemon vinegar and milk in a blender until smooth, which should only take about ten seconds. Boil rice if you are serving with rice.

The chilli should have reduced and be fairly thick by this point. Add the bell pepper and give the pan five more minutes before serving, with rice and/or biscuits and/or wraps and/or sour cream.