(Vegi) Chilli (Con Carne) Recipe (Basically have it your way!)

 

Mexican food is awesome. Tortillas, tacos, refried beans, guacamole and salsa. But the king of Mexican food, the absolute pinnacle has to be the chilli. Lets face it, you can have some mince, chuck whatever you like in it and call it a chilli. When have you ever been to two different places, ordered a chilli and had exactly the same meal? I’ve even been to a chilli cooking competition and one of the ingredients on offer was chocolate. Chocolate in a chilli? No, not for me either.

Since becoming a vegetarian I have had a few worries about things that I may miss with a chilli being one of them. A chilli con carne has great emphasis on the meat, obviously, but I wanted to make a chilli where the meat could easily be replaced, because it wasn’t necessarily the main event. Plus I was worried as a chilli has been the kid’s favourite for a while now. Here’s the recipe I came across where I replaced the beef mince with vegi mince. This is so chock full of veg, it remains the kid’s favourite and they haven’t even noticed the switch!

 

Ingredients

  • 500g of vegi mince or 500g of minced beef
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 1 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 400g tin of kidney beans
  • 2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander – remove le
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Method

  • Peel and finely chop the onions
  • Chop carrots in half widthways.  Chop each part in half again lengthways.  Slice into 0.5cm chunks all the way along
  • Chop the red peppers into chunks of approximately 2cm squared
  • Chop the celery in slices approximately 0.5cm thick
  • Remove leaves from coriander and save then finely chop stalks and put to one side
  • Take a large, deep casserole pan and put it on a medium heat
  • Pour olive oil into the bottom until the whole base is covered
  • Tip in all of your vegetables (onions, garlic, carrots, celery, red peppers)
  • Add the chilli, cinnamon and cumin and plenty of salt and pepper
  • Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring continuously until the veg has softened up a bit
  • Chuck in the chickpeas, kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, mince (vegi or beef), chopped coriander stalks and balsamic vinegar.  Season generously to your taste
  • Fill up one of the empty tomato tins with water and pour it in.  Mix everything together
  • Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer
  • Put a lid on the pan and leave a little gap on the side
  • Let simmer for an hour, thoroughly stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the sauce has thickened

If using vegi mince then it will likely take less than an hour for the liquid to evaporate.  Feel free to stop cooking when it’s at a consistency you desire.If using beef mince, ensure you cook for at least the full hour.  There will be more liquid than the vegi mince so you may need to cook for longer.
Serve with rice, pitta bread and whatever other accompaniments you like, tacos, tortillas, guacamole, salsa or sour cream.

Wallop!

It’s the end of my youngest son’s first half term of school. It’s been largely uneventful save for a couple of minor issues, oh and there was a little problem with a bit of a fight.

My dad was one of those dads who always told you,

“If he hits you, you hit him back”.

I’ve not said that to either of my children. It’s not that I don’t believe in punching someone in the face if they’ve just done the same to you, far from it, I just believe that you should judge every situation as it comes i.e. How big is he? How much did it hurt? Did I deserve it?

In any case that belief is for adults only, not for children, especially 4 year olds like my H! Instead we have adopted the approach,

“If someone upsets you go and tell the teacher.”

We haven’t even mentioned ‘punches’, as far as my kids are concerned no-one wants to punch them in the face. That’s how it should be!

Despite all this I got called aside by H’s teacher at the end of one day and she spoke to me while a sheepish looking H cowered around my legs.

Apparently a kid in Year 1 (year above four year old H) was saying horrible things to him and generally being verbally abusive. My seven year old eldest would be very upset and tell the teacher immediately, H smacked him in the face without a word.

Now I don’t know if it’s being a dad as opposed to a mum, but I felt a pang of pride swell up from somewhere inside me that I just couldn’t control. Of course on the outside I was horrified, I said all the right things and chastised H and told him that was not the way to behave. And on the whole I agree with my outside appearance. But that pang inside remains whether I like it or not.

A few days later I was telling one of the other dads in the school playground. A bespectacled fellow who doesn’t appear to have any aggression in him whatsoever. His response to the story was.

“Good on him!”

I didn’t agree with him openly and still towed the party line that I was shocked and appalled. But inside I felt glad that I wasn’t a monster.

I found out through the grapevine later that the boy who H walloped is known for being a bit of a bully. Apparently getting a slap from a four year old has brought him down a peg or two and he’s treating others with a bit more respect now. My outward words of warning for H have certainly taken effect too and I don’t think he’ll be walloping anyone again anytime soon. Perhaps all’s well that ends well?