2 December 2011

SD, ON's chilli con carne

Beautiful huh?  The dark orange of those little chillies in the middle is just amazing. After a bit of a scatter-gun approach to chilli inclusion in the pork stew I made a few months ago I would like to ID these ones. The top chilli is ancho (massive, mild, rich, sweet/smoky). If you know what the others are can you please let me know.

Having nabbed an enormous bit of beef in the supermarket (a silverside roast on one of those half price deals) I wanted to make some sort of spiced beef stew. Now the obvious cultural touchstone is the oft used and abused chilli con carne. There are purists and pragmatists - there are dilettantes and devotees. I've enjoyed all sorts and do not take a hard-line on these matters. (Why is it always made with mince thought?)

So I made up the recipe with some background reading informed by hollow legs and the Guardian. I did not include beans (though there were some on the side, refried style) but did include some tomatoes (not too many though).
  • cheap cut of beef, roughly cubed
  • lots of carrots (1/3 the amount of beef)
  • lots of onions (1/2 the amount of beef)
  • spices: cinnamon stick, five cloves, a big-ish spoon of cumin
  • a sprinkle of oregano
  • one head of garlic
  • one big handful of sweet cherry tomatoes
  • a selection of dried Mexican chillies
  • two limes

Toast the chillies and then soak them in boiling water for half an hour.

Brown the beef in batches.

Fry the onions roughly chopped in vegetable oil for ten minutes. Add the spices and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the whole head of garlic - cloves peeled but un-chopped (they will disintegrate). Add the chopped carrot and tomatoes. Add the beef. Add the oregano.

Blitz the chillies to a paste in the magimix. Add this to the mix.

Cook for two and half - three and a half hours. Mash down any big bits of beef and the garlic cloves. Squeeze two limes in.

Serve with delicious thinly sliced red onions softened in lime juice, refried beans, salad and sour cream.


Messy and vary tasty. This preparation certainly had the heat that the pork lacked but it was a slow and rich heat the lazily penetrated the mouth, pleasurably tempered by the vegetable content. Very pleasing and very easy to prepare. This is a rough and ready dish which doesn't suite fussiness so will be easy to adapt.


  1. I love that picture of the different dried chillies. The dish sounds lovely too - I'm sure it could be adapted for the slow cooker to make an easy after work dish.

  2. I love the different dried chillies too! would want to try that intriguing looking black one someday! the chilli looks delicious, and definitely more authentic than most recipes!

  3. Cheers, they are so beautiful. The black on is the Ancho - very nice taste.