While at college in New York I had heard a lot about “Cinco de Mayo”, I wasn’t quite sure what the festive occasion was called for but any day that brings people together and celebrates a culture seemed like a good idea to me. Thanks to Google I understand that Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican-American tradition that celebrates Mexican heritage and pride, it falls on May 5 to commemorate the Mexican army’s unexpected victory over the French forces in 1862 who had invaded their country.
I love me some chili con carne, whether it’s prepared today or any other day of the year. What’s there not to like about stewed meat, beans and tomatoes? My recipe is by no means traditional but will have everyone asking for more. Having said that, as some of you prepare your dishes in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, to include chili con carne, it might be important to consider what you are cooking today. I have memories of eating great food in Mexico, spicy, flavour-packed food but I never ate chili con carne while there. Chili con carne is as Mexican as Chipotle; it is a dish that originated in the United States. You may be thinking who cares about authenticity, it is more about symbolism, and to you I say put on your sombrero, raise a shot of tequila, play some Carlos Santana and let the celebrations begin!
Looks like a mess now but what till later.
Live, Love, Eat!
- 2 medium onions, chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 sticks celery, chopped finely
- 2 red peppers, roughly chopped
- olive oil
- 1 heaped teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 400 g tinned chickpeas
- 400 g tinned red kidney beans
- 2 x 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 500 g quality minced beef
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander/cilantro
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 400 g basmati rice
- Natural yoghurt
- 400 ml water
- 250 g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add all the vegetables and fry on a medium heat for 5-7 minutes until soft and lightly coloured before adding the cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder and flakes mixing well.
- Add the minced beef and fry until browned, add chickpeas, beans, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar and water and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and simmer partially covered for one hour stirring frequently.
- Mix in chopped coriander/cilantro and serve with rice, tortillas, a dollop of the natural yoghurt and a squeeze of lime.
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, then stir in water and oil and bring together. Knead for a few minutes on a floured board, form a ball and pop into fridge for 10 minutes.
- Heat a little oil a large frying pan and fry tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned and bubbles appear.