The last time I did a Tex Mex dinner party I made a Chilli Con Carne and Chilli Con Queso combination, and it was indeed a very good dish to have. I wasn’t blown away by the Carne, but the Queso was delish. This time, I decided to bring back the Queso, while putting my own twist on a new Carne recipe.
We served this over fries, but the leftovers are great with tortilla chips or even plain boiled rice. Enjoy!
Chilli Con Carne
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 heaped teaspoon Mexican chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Essence
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 500 grams minced beef
- 1 beef stock cube, diluted in 1 1/4 cups hot water
- 400 grams canned chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 square dark chocolate
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 400 grams canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Chilli Con Queso, recipe follows
In a pan over medium heat, heat the oil for 1 to 2 minutes until hot. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red bell pepper, Mexican chilli powder, paprika, ground cumin, Essence, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Stir to combine, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat up to medium high, and add the minced beef to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is browned. Add the beef stock, canned chopped tomatoes, dried marjoram and dark chocolate. Add a good shake of salt and pepper. Add the tomato purée and stir to combine. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and cover. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. If the sauce is drying out, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
Add the red kidney beans, and bring to the boil again. Cook uncovered for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and adjust the seasoning. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for at 10 minutes before serving. Making the chilli 1 or 2 days ahead is better, to allow the flavours to mingle.
Serve over fries and top with a swirl of Chili Con Queso.
Chilli Con Queso
- 5 to 6 green chillies
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 cup milk or cream
- 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar
- 1 cup grated Pepper Jack
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (daun ketumbar)
Roast the green chillies by placing them on an open gas flame, turning them frequently with tongs until all sides are charred black, about 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, the peppers can be roasted in the toaster oven.) Place the blackenedpeppers in a bowl, cover and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Peel the peppers, split in half lengthwise, and discard the seeds and the stems. Roughly chop and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chopped chilies, and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk or cream and stir until thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cheeses and cook, stirring, until melted and well incorporated. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve immediately with chips, or swirled into the Chili con Carne.