• Chef Dylan

BEEF CHILLI CON CARNE



This is one of those magical recipes that takes only ten minutes to prepare and then you let the slow cooker do all the work. You could get this going before breakfast and by the time you get home from work, you will have an elegant hearty winter delight.

This is a wonderful way to mix up a family favourite and the pulled beef instead of mince takes it to a whole new level and it’s super easy. You can very much taste the delicious flavours all this long cooking process affords. I’ve used my Creole blend as it perfectly adds richness and complexity to this dish and delivers a medium kick, a warm hum on the pallet but not too much. If you are not keen on chilli or cooking for kids just add one tablespoon of Creole.


Did you know? Chilli con carne was once called 'soup of the devil'? As usual a shroud of mystery surrounds the origins of chilli con carne. South-western American lore dates the origin to the 16th century religious trances of the mystic Lady in Blue, Sister María de Ágreda. Strange, because Sister Maria never left her home country of Spain, yet she professed to evangelise the savages of the New World by presenting herself before them in hypnotic visions.


History cannot explain why in 1629, 50 Jumano Indians walked out of the desert of unsettled West Texas and headed to the local church to be baptised. They told stories of an ethereal blue-clad woman who had taught them of God. According to Indian legend, the Lady in Blue also taught them of a fiery red stew, which over the next century came to be known as 'chilli con carne'. Spanish priests took a more hostile view of this peculiarly potent stew, declaring that it was the 'soup of the devil’ and would often preach sermons against its indulgence. Restrictions only fuelled the fire.


Throughout the 19th century chilli con carne was a staple among cowboys, ruffians and adventurers on the western frontier. Bricks of dried beef, fat, spices and dried capsicums and chillies were saddle-bagged for the trail and masterfully reconstituted over the campfire. When outlaws wound up behind bars, the prisons started serving chilli con carne as well. It just so happened to be the cheapest slop around.


By the turn of the century the Texans had all but claimed the dish as their own. Calling it Texas Red or just Chilli. Texas Red is a potent, pungent concoction that touts a no-frills approach to chilli: just meat, spices and as many chiles as you can stand. To Texans, anything else isn’t even called chilli and if they see any kidney beans in there they will laugh and call it an abomination.

Luckily, we are not in Texas. I personally like to taste what I’m eating and use heat as a light hum to enhance the flavour of my food and I also like the flavour of kidney beans, so I put them in. Once you make this recipe and see how easy it is to prepare and the massive flavour hit you get from simply whacking it in the slow cooker you will be amazed, and this will become a regular dish. This meal freezes incredibly well and can last for six months in the freezer and will last two weeks in the fridge, but I can assure you it will be devoured way before then.


PREP TIME: 20 mins

COOKING TIME: 8+ hrs slow cooker

SERVINGS: 6-8


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsps olive oil

  • 1 large onion sliced

  • 2kg well-marbled chuck steak cut into 4 equal pieces

  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped

  • 1-3 tbsps CREOLE

  • 2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

  • 1 large red capsicum chopped into 2cm cubes

  • 400g tin kidney beans

  • 250ml beef stock

  • 3 tbsps corn flour + 65ml water = slurry


TO ACCOMPANY

  • 3 cups cooked rice and/or corn chips

  • Guacamole or avocado, diced

  • 3 tbsps sour cream

  • 200g grated cheese

  • a few sprigs of fresh coriander


METHOD


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy based skillet over medium/high heat. Brown beef well all over - about two and a half minutes on each side, then reserve onto a plate.

  2. In the same skillet add a touch more oil if needed.

  3. Add the garlic, onion and capsicum and fry until well cooked, around 2 to 3 minutes. Add CREOLE and tomato paste and cook out for 2 minutes, stirring constantly

  4. Deglaze the skillet by adding 250ml beef broth; bring to simmer, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a spoon to dissolve brown bits into the liquid. Simmer for 30 seconds, then scrape it all into the slow cooker.

  5. Set and forget: Add in the slow cooker, the beans, chopped tomato, the other 250ml of beef broth and stir; then add beef - it won't be fully submerged, but beef juices will raise liquid level.

  6. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove beef carefully and cut into chunks or shred.

  7. Add slurry and stir in.

  8. Cook on stove top low for 20 minutes. Prepare rice and accompaniments.


TO SERVE


Serve with a simple fresh tomato salsa and a nice glass of Shiraz.