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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chili con Carne

No, we do not soak our own beans for this recipe.  Yes, sometimes we use canned tomatoes (because there are times during the year when the fresh tomatoes look awful).

No, I do not get to taste this recipe because Ma and Daddy-dog like their chili spicy and we all know dogs cannot have spicy food. 

Ma starts this recipe by making Cuban-style sofrito, a combination of aromatic ingredients used for the base of many Latin dishes.  Sofrito can be made with the aromatics just being chopped but Daddy-dog doesn't like big chunks in his chili, so the aromatics are put in the food processor.


For the sofrito:
1 medium or large onion, peeled and quartered
½ medium bell pepper (whatever color you prefer), chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
*optional: 1-2 chili peppers, chopped (jalapeno, Scotch Bonnet, Habanero - whichever level heat you prefer.  Ma likes to use Habanero. *spicy*)

The Scoville Heat Scale for Chili Peppers
For the chili:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. (453g/16 oz) ground beef or beef mince
*2 large cans (822g/26 oz) small red beans (Daddy-dog doesn't like a lot of beans so sometimes we only use 1 can (411g/13 oz) of small red beans.  You can also use dry beans, but then cook time will take longer!)
¾ lb. (368g/13 oz) diced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned (if canned, drain liquid and discard)
1 small can plain tomato sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese, for serving


1. Make the sofrito by placing onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and chili pepper* in food processor.  Grind until all ingredients blend into puree.  Set aside.  (*You can leave the chilies out of the sofrito and add it later, as it does tend to create 'pepper spray' when sautéing  in the sofrito.)

2. Heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  When pot comes to temperature, add sofrito and sauté until aromatic, approximately 3-4 minutes.

3. Add ground beef (or beef mince) to pot and cook until all meat is browned, approximately 10 minutes.  Add beans, with liquid, and tomatoes (and chilies, if you did not add them to sofrito) and cook for another 5 minutes.

4. Turn heat to low, add tomato sauce, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours (The longer it simmers, the more flavor the chili will have.)  
Simmering in the pot. *licks chops*
5. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.  (You can also add a dollop of sour cream and some chopped scallions for garnish.)

One chili con carne coming right up!
This recipe makes a large amount of chili con carne.  Ma likes to have extra so she can freeze individual servings, in those soup-size plastic containers, for a quick lunch or dinner.  The chili reheats well in either the microwave or on top of the stove!


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