Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jamie Oliver's Good Old Chilli Con Carne

I think the very fact that I purchased Jamie's Ministry of Food at all is testimony to what a cookbook addict I am. After all, I have so many cookbooks they no longer fit into one bookcase (that's right people, a bookcase, not a bookshelf). Did I really need another cookbook at all let alone one with basic recipes aimed at novice cooks? And yet I love it and it is currently one of my most used books. It helps that DH likes Jamie too, and finds the recipes easy to follow, as he does at least half of the cooking here these days, often more.

I have other recipes for chilli con carne. I probably don't even strictly need a recipe to make it, yet I am still a person who likes to have a recipe to follow. That's why I don't think I will be competing on masterchef anytime soon! What I like about this particular recipe is the amount of veg in it. This means it really stretches 500g of mince, plus in my case means less points per serve (Weight Watchers) - gotta love that.

Normally we serve chilli with some rice, corn chips and sour cream. DH disconsolately said he supposed we couldn't have corn chips anymore now that we are eating healthily. I suggested no more than a garnish of corn chips, but we dispensed with them altogether. Still, I love the crunch of corn chips with my chilli, so decided to come up with a healthier version using mountain bread. It worked okay - certainly added crunch for very few points, but they aren't as strong as corn chips, so not as good for scooping. You can scoop a little, but too much and they break.

Step 1: Chopping the veg. For me, this is the hardest step as I am not as adept a I could be with a knife. 2 onions, 2 cloves garlic, 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery and 2 red capsicum.

Step 2: I love the huge amount of colourful veg in the pan! You want to soften the veg for around 7 mins with some olive oil in the pan.

Step 3: Add the spices - 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp of chilli powder. I would suggest you could also add 1 tsp of ground coriander and some cocoa powder - though I didn't this time. I used Mexican chilli powder as it is milder than normal chilli powder, and we don't eat very hot food, especially not with a 15mo baby. But if you wanted it hotter, I would suggest at least 2 tsp of normal chilli powder.

Step 4: Drain and rinse 400g tin of chickpeas and a 400g tin of red kidney beans. Add to the spiced veg mix with 800g of tinned tomatoes.

Step 5: Add 500g beef mince, stir to break up lumps. Add 1/3-1/2 can of water (using one of the emptied out tins). Jamie suggests a whole tin of water, but I have found this too much. Stir in 2 tbs balsamic vinegar plus some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Step 6: Bring to the boil. Cover with a lid but leave it ajar so that the mixture can reduce slightly. Lower heat and simmer for an hour.

My low fat mountain bread chips

Cut 2-3 pieces of mountain bread lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips (depending on how big you want your chips) and then cut along diagonals to make triangles. Unfortunately my oven is out of commission at the moment, so I used the microwave to crisp the chips. I found one light spray of olive oil on your chosen plate / bowl helped prevent sticking.

I used the lid from my Tupperware OvenWorks 2L round container as this gave the chips a slightly rounded shape to make them better for scooping. Cook for 1 minute on high in batches.


This isn't really proper guacamole, just mashed avocado really. I don't go in for adding tomatoes or spring onions or any spices to the avocado which would be good if you were using it as a dip. I just want a cooling salve to serve alongside the chilli, so all I have done here is mash one avocado, spritzed in the juice of half a lime (could use less if you don't want it too zingy) and stirred through about 1tbs of low fat sour cream.

Here is the cooked chilli - served on a bed of basmati rice with guacamole, sour cream, mountain bread chips and some lime for spritzing over.

1 comment:

  1. Yum. Red has been obsessed with making chilli con carne for ages and made some this week too - he did really well! I think he really wants to make it the slow-cook version, with a chunk of beef you fork-shred - maybe next time. Those chips are a great idea.