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An old favourite…Chilli Con Carne

There’s been a lot of discussion about convenience foods during the recent horsemeat scandal and much concern about the quality and content of supermarket convenience meals. For me cooking your own with fresh ingredients is definitely the best and healthiest way to eat, it’s also more economical, particularly when you’re feeding a family.

Cooking your own food is not only enjoyable but I do see it as an essential part of the way we live. Food is such an integral part of our lives so why not buy the best fresh produce you can afford and get cooking. Apparently not that easy according to several, people who sent me comments recently. If you’ve never learned to cook or find it a chore, yes it might not be as easy, but believe me it is not rocket science and once you have a few basic recipes under your belt it is easy to plan for the week ahead.

Yes, I know the world is a busy place, people are working full time, coming home at 5 or 6 to cook a meal doesn’t appeal and why bother when supermarkets have made it so easy!
I’ve been there, I’ll hold my hands up and say yes there was a time in the early 80s when calling into the food section of a well known shop’s food section to pick up something for the dinner had the potential to make my evening easier after a hard day at work. It never became a habit as once I started reading labels and looking at the cost of feeding a family I soon realised that planning ahead and cooking quick and easy healthy meals was not that difficult.

I’ve also worked with groups where the preparation of food was difficult due to health and mobility conditions but we got there using different methods to prepare and cook the ingredients. Mince is such an easy, versatile and economical dish to cook and my advice is go along to your local butcher or local Farmers market as you’ll find better quality produce and you may find it cheaper than the local supermarket as very often they have also special offers on their produce.

Chilli con carne albeit an 70s 80s dish is one of those old favourites that has never lost its appeal for me and usually makes an appearance once or twice a month in our house.  I first started cooking this around 1978 and over the years I’ve made some small changes to the spices but on the whole it’s largely the same recipe. It also works well with other types of mice and I quite regularly use venison mince as an alternative.

Chilli Con Carne makes a healthy & filling meal with a few additional accompaniments

Chilli Con carne makes a healthy & filling meal with a few additional accompaniments

This recipe uses 2lb of mince so easily halved and frozen for another day.   Please don’t send me a comment to say you don’t have
a freezer….. Someone else beat you to it !!
Chilli con carne
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large onion finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves crushed or chopped
5 tsp chilli powder
2tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2lb Beef mince
4tbsp tomato purée
2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
Approx half can of water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 peppers cut into bite size chunks.
1x 400g Kidney Beans
Heat the oil over a medium heat and sauté the onion for 8 – 10 min

Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 – 3 minutes, then add the chilli, cumin and
continue cooking for a minute.
Add the mince to the pan, break up any lumps with a spatula and continue cooking until
the meat is browned.
Add the tomato purée, mix well and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube and approximately half a can of water
Season with salt with salt and pepper.
Cook for about 45 minutes before adding the peppers and kidneys beans. Cook for
another 10 minutes.
To serve.
Chilli con Carne is one of those dishes that can served alone with rice or baked potato and is good wholesome meal in itself. I like to serve accompaniments such as grated cheddar, guacamole, sour cream and pitta bread. These are optional and will make the main dish go further, particularly of you’re serving a crowd.

Wild ice,guacamole,grated cheddar and sour cream, all great to serve with Chilli

Wild ice,guacamole,grated cheddar and sour cream, all great to serve with Chilli

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