Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cheater's Chili Con Carne...

Go ahead and cheat... well with chili that is. If you don`t have a bunch of spices in your pantry, canned tomatoes seasoned with chili flavour (not chilli the spice, but chili the stew) is your best bet to give you the combined flavours of cumin, paprika, cinnamon and chilli. Use up those leftover veggies in your fridge-- you have an extra stalk of celery-- go straight ahead... how about carrots-- that can go in too... veggies that are not typically in chili-- chop them up and throw that in... slow simmering for an hour and a half breaks it all down anyway creating smothered tender easy eats by the spoonful. Oh, and why the balsamic vinegar you ask-- see the recipe for what secret it imparts. I served it differently tonight with large pearl couscous and blue corn tortilla chips! Oh what fun!

Cheater's Chili Con Carne
Makes 6-8 servings

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (540 mL) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 (540 mL) cans diced tomatoes (Chili flavour)
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (an aha! I got from a Jamie Oliver chili recipe-- see method)

salt and pepper to taste
garnish with chopped cilantro, green onions, red onions and a splash of lime juice

TIP: The chili tomatoes have some heat, so if you don`t want too much for your family, go with one can and the other with a can of regular diced tomatoes instead. 

Heat olive oil in skillet on medium high and add onions, celery, pepper and garlic; cook until soft about three minutes stirring occasionally. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you stir to cook for about five minutes. Add the beans and canned tomatoes; bring to a boil stirring occasionally for ten minutes before spooning in balsamic vinegar (this gives the savoury and slightly sweet tangy notes of a long-simmered chili). Turn the heat down to a simmer with the lid slightly askew for one hour and a half, stirring now and then to ensure the liquid distributes and doesn`t dry out at the bottom and burn.

Finish with salt and pepper to taste and a splash of EVOO. Stir well and serve hot!

This is fabulous served over baked potato, regular couscous, large pearl couscous, fluffy rice, or a hunk of crusty bread. I opted to go with large pearl couscous and organic blue corn tortilla chips with a side of roasted vegetables. Garnish with your favourites including more hot sauce at the table!

A great comfort weeknight meal!

Click here for a Vegetarian Chili.

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