Chilli Con Carne with Chimichurri

Having spent years slaving over a hot stove, I’m not too modest to say I think I’ve finally found my holy grail chilli con carne recipe, and I present it here in all its smoky, spicy glory replete with pinto beans, chorizo and liquid smoke.

I’m not for a second going to pretend this is authentic (my rough understanding is that both tomatoes and beans aren’t authentic, and that’s before we even get started on adding chorizo…) which does make me somewhat of a hypocrite as I do tend to look for authenticity when eating out, but hey ho – this is damn tasty stuff even if I do say so myself. My boyfriend even got me to instruct him on the recipe via email from Bristol as he was so keen to make it for his buddies, and when I got home the pot had truly been licked clean which I think is pretty high praise.

On holiday last week I caught a bit of Rachel Ray making Argentinian Chilli with Chimichurri and thought that was rather a good idea – I’ve stuck to my own chilli recipe but with a healthy dollop of this herby, sharp sauce to top it off (plus some cheese and sour cream on a wholemeal tortilla) – it makes a really nice change to the usual jalapenos, while add a similar freshness and bite

Next time I think I’ll guild the lily some more and make chilli cheese cornbread (more is more with me when it comes to food sadly!) instead of the tortillas.

If you make this, please let me know what you think in the comments section below!

Chilli with chimichurri sauce

Chilli with chimichurri sauce

Ultimate Chilli Con Carne

I’m going to be upfront here and say I don’t measure out the spices, going by eye instead – it also depends on how fresh and potent the spices you’re working with are, but I’ve included some approximate measurements.

500g lean, minced steak
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
250g chorizo sausage ( I like the fresh chorizo sausages stocked in Sainsbury’s but I’ve also used the usual stuff too) chopped
2 tins/ cartons of beans (I used pinto and kidney, but have also used borlotti)
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
300 grams of chopped peppers (I use frozen for ease)
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
A splash of liquid smoke
500ml beef stock
2 good tablespoons of chipotle puree
2 generous tablespoons of smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, hot chilli powder

Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft, then remove to a side plate. Brown off the beef thoroughly, draining off any fat as you go.

Once the beef is nice and coloured, add back in the onions and garlic. Add the chorizo, then fry for a few minutes to release the gorgeous fragrant paprika oil.

Add the tomato puree and fry for a minute or two – this helps take the raw edge of the puree, and pull the sweetness out. You can then add in the spices, and fry until fragrant.

You can now put in all other ingredients – the beans, peppers, sugar, liquid smoke, beef stock and chipotle, and bring to a simmer.

I like to then transfer mine to the over, around 180c for at least an hour and a half (the longer the better, ideally) but it can also be done on top of the stove.

About half way through the cooking time, I like to have a good taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary – as I mentioned above, I add the spices by eye and I often find other chilli recipes a big lacking spice-wise – the beans really need quite a bit of seasonings to make them really tasty.

Chimichurri (taken from Rachel Ray)
1 cup packed herbs, coarsely chopped, including any mixture of: parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil or cilantro leaves (I used basil, coriander and parsley)
2 large shallots or 1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
About 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Crusty warm bread, for serving

Put the herbs, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, vinegar and oil in food processor bowl. Pulse-process until finely chopped but still a loose sauce. Sauce can be made fresh or refrigerated for a few days in airtight container.

Transfer the hot chili to serving bowls and topped with Chimichurri sauce. Serve with lots of crusty warm bread. You can also top with finely chopped seeded tomatoes, if desired.

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