by Carmen Allan-Petale
Chilli con carne is one of the oldest recipes in the world; it has been passed down through generations. The first known documentation of the meal dictates boiled tomatoes, salt, chillies and meat as the main ingredients, and dates back to 1519.
In this chilli, possibly the first ever made, human flesh was used instead of beef. Following a battle of the Cholulan Indians, allied with the Aztecs in Mexico, the tribes conquered the Conquistadors and feasted on them by putting their flesh into a stew flavoured with chilli. Gruesome.
Years later the American settlers created their own version of chilli, using dried beef, suet, dried chilli peppers and salt. The ingredients were bashed together and then dried in the sun, before being boiled to be eaten as a quick, low-fuss meal when travelling around the country.
Over the centuries the dish has been continuously adapted and is now recognised throughout the world. It’s also the US state of Texas’ official dish.
My take on chilli is significantly different from its original form, using green chillies rather than red – and certainly beef instead of human meat!
To make green chilli beef
Fry one finely chopped onion and 500g of beef mince in a pan with a dash of olive oil.
After six or seven minutes, add two finely chopped garlic cloves, two chopped and deseeded green chillies, and a teaspoon each of the following spices: cumin, ground coriander, paprika and cayenne pepper. Cook for another two minutes, stirring.
Add one chopped green capsicum, four chopped tomatoes and 300ml of beef stock.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 15 minutes. Add a seasoning of salt and pepper.
Drain a 400ml tin of red kidney beans and add to the pot with a sprinkle of chilli flakes. Here I added a couple of spoonfuls of Wendy Darlington’s Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce which we bought on our recent jaunt to Somerset. You could use something similar.
Then cook the stew for another five minutes before serving.
Dish up with some fresh coriander, a dash of natural yoghurt and some grated cheddar cheese.
Inspired by Delicious magazine.