24/06/2011

Chilli Con Carne

Chilli Con Carne is a great dish and one which requires only a mere tweak to become paleo.

Red Kidney Beans are poison! Simple as that. Leave them out and bring in the colour and that slight texture with paleo-friendly foods - aubergine, red or green peppers.

Then, there's the tacos or tortillas. Corn or flour-based, these are contra-paleo. You're now thinking that Chilli Con Carne is perhaps not a great dish to simulate in the paleosphere. I am not a great fan of mimicing non-paleo foods but this dish becomes equally fun and tasty when made as a paleo dish; a different dish, not necessarily simulating the original.

Chilli is best enjoyed with some accompaniments - guacamole, cachumbar, pickled chillis, salsa and yoghurt. All these can be prepared alongside while the main feature is cooking.

Without further ado, let's put the dish together ...

You'll need the following:
  • Beef Mince (2lb)
  • Onion (Large)
  • Garlic (2 Cloves)
  • Chillies
  • Chopped Tomatoes (400g)
  • Tomato Puree (1 tbsp)
  • Worcestershire Sauce (1 tbsp)
  • Aubergine
  • Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt
The compressed version:
  1. Brown off the mince in a skillet.
  2. Add Worcestershire Sauce.
  3. Add a chopped onion and sliced garlic cloves.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes.
  5. Add squirt of tomato puree.
  6. Add chillies.
  7. Simmer for 1-2 hours, adding water as necessary.
  8. Add diced aubergine.
  9. Simmer on for a further 15 minutes.
... and the long version:

Place a large pan with a lid on the heat and get it warming up. Meanwhile, chop an onion. Fry off beef mince without any additional fat or oil and spend some time breaking it down further with a wooden paddle so that the texture is almost ground beef. If some of the meat gets very coloured, great! It's all flavour!

Once coloured, add in the chopped onion, a good squirt of tomato puree, perhaps some Worcestershire Sauce and a slug of tequila. Put the lid on sharpish! The steam will soften up the onions and deglaze the base of the pan in one.

After a few minutes, add a can of plum tomatoes and break up. Add water where necessary.

Add your chillis now. I use a variety of chillis to build up a wall of assault! I use Bhut Jolokia for the intense heat; just a little. Scotch Bonnet adds a subtle alternative flavour. One or two plain green chillis, de-seeded, for the crisp green flavour and I often add a little ginger for the high notes. Put in whatever chillis float your boat or are available to you.

Simmer away for a couple of hours and about half an hour before serving add in chopped aubergine, red and green peppers, whatever it is you want to colour it and give an alternative texture.

Meanwhile, prepare the accompaniments ...

Greek yoghurt to cool down the heat is easy - take the lid off and put in a bowl.

Likewise, pickled chillis can be removed from the jar and placed into another bowl.



Guacamole is simple - just blend a couple of avocados with a squeeze of lime juice, from a lime NOT a bottle! Place in another bowl.

Cachumbar is an Indian accompaniment and works really well with Chilli Con Carne - chop some onion, cube some tomato and cucumber and mix together in a bowl. Add some finely chopped green chilli as well if you like.

Salsa? Break down some tomatoes, add a drop or two of vinegar and some chillis. Chopped pickled chillis work great here. Pour into a bowl.

Finally, the tortillas. Use a crisp lettuce.

I favour Cos for the long leaves and strong spine structure and rather than wrapping the food, use the lettuce leaf more like a taco. Wider leaves will wrap like tortilla.

Take a lettuce leaf, spread some guacamole over, sprinkle some cachumbar, add a good helping of Chilli Con Carne and top with spoons of salsa and yoghurt. Enjoy :)

2 comments :

  1. Could you write this out in a recipe format? It's hard to follow this when I'm cooking as I have to read through the paragraphs.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Elizabeth - yours is the kind of request that I dread! I simply don't "do" recipes. All those weights, measures and rigid methods just give me the shivers!

      Here's why: http://www.livingintheiceage.co.uk/2013/09/why-i-dont-do-recipes.html

      ... anyway, since you asked nicely, I've worked the short version into the text above. How's that?

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