Chilli Con Carne

This dish has a special place in my culinary heart. I first tried this spicy tomato-meat concoction on top of a baked potato (jacket potatoes!) when I was 12 years old – in a small café, in a town called Loughborough, England. It was so exotic to me, to eventually taste this much sung about food (Let There Be Love by Nat King Cole). Fast forward by 7 years, and it was a staple meal for me at my university’s Student Union café. I love to eat it with rice, but you can have it on its own with bread (corn or otherwise), or as a Taco Salad topping.
My version here is slightly spiced – it’s not too hot, but with a hint of spices that give it that fresh ‘oh-it-is-spiced’ feeling.

Ingredients: (serves 2-4)

Spices:
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of dried thyme
1 tsp of turmeric powder (it can be omitted if you don’t have any)
1 tsp of hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of oregano
1/2 tsp of ground coriander
1/2 tsp of black pepper (in the picture its whole – I will grind it first)
1 thumb sized ginger, sliced
Olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
500g of minced beef
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of cooked, drained and rinsed kidney beans
A pinch of sugar
1 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce (or balsamic vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Have all the spices ready as seen below. (Grind the pepper.)
2. On medium heat, add approx. 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pot, and add in the chopped onions. Saute the onions until translucent, then add the garlic. Be sure not to brown the garlic.
3. After 2-3 minutes, add in the spice mix. Stir and cook until the onions and garlic have taken some colour, and then add the minced beef.
4. Cook the meat until it’s no longer pink. You may need to break the meat with the back of your spatula. When the juices are clear, you can now remove the ginger slices.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, a pinch of sugar and the Worcestershire Sauce.
6.Cover slightly, and on low simmering heat, let it cook for about an hour. Once in a while, check in with the meat mixture and stir to stop it from burning.
7. Once its ready, serve it with rice.
You can garnish this dish with thinly sliced coriander leaves and a dollop of sour cream.
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