Food

Slow cooked chilli con carne for a quick mid week feast

July 19, 2018 By Southpoint Tuggeranong

On these cold, dark Canberra winter nights, how good is to come home to a warming bowl of spicy chilli con carne and all the fixings? A few minutes prep in the morning, a gathering of traditional chilli sides, and you can have the quickest, and tastiest, meal of the week in front of you in minutes

Chilli con carne is a firm favourite in our house, and if you make twice as much as you normally would, it freezes beautifully. Leftovers can be used in Mexican baked potatoes; on thick slices of sourdough toast; in a cheese and chilli toastie; or scooped onto hot, cheesey nachos. One big pot of chilli can be a huge lifesaver when it’s miserable, you’re tired and just can’t be bothered to create magic every single night of the week.
  • 2kgs beef mince
  • 2 tins red kidney beans
  • 2 tins crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried red chillies (up the ante if you like things a little hotter, I use jalapenos as they tend to have a smokiness that works really well in this dish)
  • 1Tb smoked paprika
  • 1Tb cumin
  • 2tsp sea salt (slow cooked meals need extra seasoning, so check for seasoning as the hours go on)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 100gms dark chocolate (this isn’t essential, but it adds a cocoa richness to the dish that’s memorable)
  • Roots/stems of half a bunch of coriander (washed thoroughly as they’re usually really sandy), chop them finely
To serve
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Grated tasty cheese
  • Fresh coriander
  • Rice (optional)
  • Corn chips
  • Fresh lime
I always brown the meat when I slow cook, it’s a habit I can’t’ break, but this step isn’t necessary if you’re really time poor. Fry the onion, coriander roots and garlic until caramelised and add the beef. I use a potato masher to break the mince down into smaller pieces, this allows it to brown a lot faster. Once all browned, tip the beef, it’s juices, the tomatoes, beans, and spices into your slow cooker and stir it all through. Add 50gms of chocolate at the beginning of this process, and the other 50gms right at the end before serving. You’ll get a great dark earthy hit of cocoa if you do this. Cook on low for at least 6-8 hours.

Check seasoning at the end of the cooking time and add more salt, pepper or even chilli if you think it doesn’t have the right heat level. With two long dried red chillies, this chilli has a low and slow burn, which is good for the younger kids, learning to eat spicy foods., I add a few chilli flakes to my dish, as I do like it a little hotter. Serve your chilli con carne with any or all of the suggested sides, it’s a bit like tacos, you know what your family likes with their Mexican meats ??

I would serve this with a Spanish style red, like a local Quarry Hill Tempranillo. Bold, savoury red berry flavours that stand up to the spicy meat, enough tannin to cut through the unctuousness of the chilli and its sides. Delicious!

The Food and Wine Marshall