Monday, August 3, 2015

Skillet Chili Con Carne


Chili Con Carne is Spanish meaning chili with meat

On Sunday, I wondered what to do with two fresh jalapeño peppers and 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef? So I decided to make a quick one-skillet summer meal, with the thought of having leftovers to eat during the week. It was delicious!

Nothing tastes better than fresh, unprocessed, food spiced just right.

The recipe is also very forgiving. Use what you have in your kitchen. You can brown either ground beef, or cubes of lean, solid beef. You can use either a can of whole tomatoes (as I did); or a can of crushed tomatoes; or roasted, puréed, fresh tomatoes; or diced fresh tomatoes that are thrown into the skillet to cook after browning your meat, onions and jalapeño peppers. If you have a bell pepper of any color, or celery  -- add them to the skillet. If you don't have either, skip it. 

Here is my recipe:

Skillet Chili Con Carne

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or cubes of lean beef)
1 large onion, diced
jalapeño peppers, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used red.)
2 stalks celery
Seasoning to taste -- I added:
1 tablespoon dried garlic (or fresh garlic)
a sprinkle of dried onion
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon dried cilantro (or fresh cilantro if you have it)
a shake of dried celery
1 teaspoon oregano
a tiny sprinkle of cumin (I don't like a lot. It's a strong spice.)
1 bay leaf
1 large any flavor bouillon (or 2 small bouillons) -- If you don't have bouillon, add a teaspoon of salt. (Usually bouillon is salty.)
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
fresh black pepper
1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
1 15 ounce can of kidney beans

Optional shortcut: You can add an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, but it isn't necessary. Sometimes I add it to thicken the chili, but if you simmer the pot longer you will get nearly the same consistency. 

Directions:

1. Toss the ground beef (or beef cubes) into a 12'' skillet on a stove top over a medium heat. If using ground beef, break it up into pieces.
2. While browning the meat, add the diced onions, jalapeño peppers, bell pepper and celery. Let cook until done. (If using fresh garlic, dice and throw it into the pan late, so it doesn't burn.) Stir occasionally to brown evenly. I used lean meat, so after cooking my meat was dry. No draining was necessary. But pour out the fat, if necessary.
3. Next add the tomatoes, kidney beans and seasonings to the skillet.
4. Simmer on low heat for abut 30 minutes.

Serve the chili with a mixed green salad and rice if you wish. Sometimes I serve it with a pan of cornbread. To the basic recipe I chop 2 jalapeño peppers, a small onion and a handful of garlic cloves, plus add a cup of whole corn kernels. Throw the tasty extra ingredients into the batter.

Since I had fresh corn-on-the cob that was my starch. Here's a no-fuss method for preparing it:

1. Microwave the corn-on-the-cob inside its husk for 4 1/2 minutes. It will turn out tender and perfect!
2) After cooking, wait a beat to let the ear of corn cool slightly, before removing the husk and silk to eat. It slides right off.

A simple and balanced summer dinner. The leftover chili will taste amazing too. Bon appétit!



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