Chilli con carne is something I would never think to order when eating out or even have a random craving for. In fact it’s something I probably hadn’t even thought about for years. Yet it was one of the first ideas that popped into my head when I started brainstorming for new recipes for the blog. Then I started working on the recipe and remembered just how filling, and tasty it is when made right – and what a good budget meal it is!
I’m sure I’ve said before in other posts that we are not lovers of spicy food. We love a curry but always order from the korma end of the menu! As a result, I grossly underestimated the amount of chilli powder to put in when I did the initial try-out. It was perfect for us but if you like your food hot hot hot then just chuck some more in!
When I decided to put a chilli recipe together for the blog, I did what I quite often do when I’m making a Dizzy Dieter take on a well established recipe – namely some Googling! The one thing that seemed to be common across the Internet was, wait for it….chocolate. Yes chocolate. Very weird but it works – don’t get me wrong you’re not sticking one of those huge Dairy Milk bars in there – it’s just a few squares! It gives a very slight sweetness to the sauce as well as adding to all that lovely beefy tomatoey yumminess!
This is such a versatile meal too – obviously there are certain things that make a “traditional” chilli but hey, what can I say I’m a culinary rebel! Experiment with the beans, add some sweetcorn or peas, use pork mince instead of beef – mix it up a bit! There’s also massive scope in what to serve chilli with/on. Dollop it over a jacket potato, have it with some chips, just have a bowl of it, have it with some rice or…… well the combinations are endless and if I listed them all we’d be here all year!
I was introduced to bulgur wheat a few years ago when we went over to my parents. My mum made some Greek meatballs and had the table loaded with lovely healthy accompaniments – bowls of salad, cherry tomatoes, pitta breads and a bowl of what I thought was rice.
Rice… urgh it’s just not for me. It should be – it’s the epitome of versatility and easy cooking – but I just hate it. It’s not that I don’t like the taste because, let’s face it, it doesn’t really have one. I don’t think I have a problem with the texture as I like risotto and bulgur wheat and the like. It’s just reeeeally boring! And I know that’s kind of the point but it doesn’t appeal to me.
Bulgur wheat on the other hand has become something we always have in the cupboard. I think this fairly new found love for it comes down to the fact that it’s much tastier but subtle enough to be a good accompaniment without taking the focus off what you are serving it with. It’s also much less fussy about how it’s treated than rice!
So back to mum’s lunch table and I realised I wasn’t eating rice but something different and much tastier so I asked her what it was. She told me that she’d also only recently come across this versatile, delicious grain and said that I should be able to find it in the supermarket.
I was so impressed with it that next time we went shopping I went searching the shelves for bulgur wheat. Sure enough I found it, tucked away in a little space amongst the pasta and rice – easy to walk past if you weren’t looking for it.
The difference seems to be made in the cooking – where as you would normally cook rice in water, you cook bulgur wheat in stock so it soaks up all the lovely flavour from the stock. I almost always use it instead of rice but there are quite a few other potential uses for it – we’ve used it in stuffing for peppers, put it in salads and there’s other experiments I have in mind too for the future and obviously you’ll be the first ones to know how those turn out!
So, see if you can get your hands on some bulgur wheat to serve with your chilli and give it a try. Depending on what you’re serving it with bulgur wheat is great with some cooked mixed veg or diced fried onion. You can play around with it if you want to make it a bit more interesting but it’s really tasty simply cooked in vegetable stock – plus it won’t steal the limelight from your chilli con carne.
Let me know what you thought of the chilli in the comments or via the contact me form – or get in touch on social media. Post some pictures of your #bowlofchilli with your favourite accompaniments/toppings – if you’re feeling adventurous you could give it a try with some of my carrot and onion mini bhajis – they go together really well! Enjoy DDx.Print
Chilli Con Carne
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
A delicious chilli con carne – perfect served over a jacket potato, some bulgur wheat or think outside the box and have it with some chips or potato wedges!
- 500 g lean beef mince
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 peppers, diced (any colour although I like to use at least one red for sweetness)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 40 g chocolate (I just use cooking chocolate)
- 2 teaspoons chilli powder (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 beef stock cube
- 2 400g tins of tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons tomato puree
- 1 400g tin mixed beans – including kidney beans – drained and rinsed
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Make life easier for yourself and get everything diced and chopped ready to go!
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the pepper, garlic, chilli powder, paprika and cumin, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.
- In another frying pan, season the beef mince with salt and pepper and brown. Once browned, add it to the vegetables and continue to cook until the mince is cooked through.
- Make up your stock (I used 400ml boiling water per stock cube) and add to the pan.
- Add the tomato puree and tinned tomatoes to the pan, season and mix well.
- Bring the sauce up to the boil and then reduce the heat, stir and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the mixture stays at a simmer.
- Drain and rinse the beans, add them to the chilli along with the chocolate and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Keep the lid handy as we will need it again in a minute.
- Taste and season the chilli. Once happy with the seasoning, turn off the heat and put the lid back on the pan. Leave the chilli to rest for 10 minutes before serving to allow all the flavours to mix and develop properly.
- Serve with your choice of accompaniments.
- As written, this is a mild chilli con carne – if you like heat in your food then simply increase the amount of chilli powder!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Serving Size: Per serving
- Calories: 715.7kcal