Chili con Carne

My idea of personal torture is watching a cooking show right before bed. Second to that, it’s lying in bed getting ready to sleep, then suddenly thinking of food I’ve been craving. My thoughts immediately shift to how I’ll be getting to eat that food. Sometimes, I  am even emboldened with the idea that I could cook it myself. This is what happens next:

Chili con Carne

I got the recipe from allrecipes.com. Click HERE to see it. Most of the ingredients, spices included, are available in the bigger grocery chains that carry imported items. Surprisingly, I didn’t have trouble finding the canned red kidney beans. I know the dry ones are quite common, but it would take soaking overnight to make them ready for use. Ever the impatient one, I jumped at the chance to prepare the chili on the same day. The spices, I already had in stock from when I was into making curry. The only uncommon ingredient on the list was the whole cinnamon stick that I bought years ago from Assad Minimart. (You’ll notice on the photo below that I was able to buy cinnamon bark, but it is a far cry from the cinnamon stick I have. It has a weak, sour aroma that hardly resembles typical cinnamon powder. I suspect the one at the grocery is a Ceylon Cinnamon vs. the minimart one that is Cassia Cinnamon.)

Ingredients; other spices not pictured

For the mis en place, I chopped up the onions, garlic, chili (seeds removed), and tomatoes (seeds removed as well), then strained the beans. For chili, I used the local alternative, siling labuyo. Instead of just one, I went with two to get more of a kick. For this ratio of ingredients, you could even make it three to get the heat going.

Sweating onions, garlic, and chopped chili

Once the onions, garlic, and chili mix was looking translucent, the ground beef was dumped in and thoroughly cooked.

Add the ground beef

The beef juices/oils will naturally start to come out.

Browned ground beef

All the rest of the ingredients get tossed in, save for the beans. Those come in last. For this recipe, I actually doubled all the spices listed on the ingredients. It’s just more flavorful that way, and I don’t like being overwhelmed with a strong beefy taste. The additional spices depend on your tolerance for strong aromas and flavors, so it’s still best to start with what the recipe calls for.

BTW, that silver thing floating around in the tomato sauce is, in fact, a tea ball. It’s where I put my sachet d’epices. It’s multi-purpose, reusable, and easy to clean.

Let the chili simmer for 45 minutes

Finally, add the beans and let it simmer some more for 15 minutes before plating.

Aaaand… dinner.

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