Chilli Con Carne...make it light and fresh with greens from the garden

Posted August 15th, 2013 by Mimi

It's almost that time of year when we put aside the warming dishes we've enjoyed through Winter, and embrace the fresh, crisp salads of Spring.

But just before we do, I've made over our favourite Mexican meal, and lightened it up with fresh herbs and crunchy green veges. This is served without corn chips, rice or sour cream, making it a health conscious alternative to the usual Mexican fare.

Herbs, and veges like capsicum, chilli, and tomatoes, are easy for even the garden novice to grow, and this dish makes good use of a these and a couple of other herby favourites, so plant a few Kitchen garden basics and you're off and running!

Mimi's Fresh and Green Chilli Con Carne

Serves 6-8

You'll need:

Cooking Spray

1 kg mince (any kind)

1 red capsicum, deseeded and chopped

2 onions, peeled and chopped

6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced

1 tin beans or bean mix, drained and rinsed until it stops frothing

2 large red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely

3-4 large fresh tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 beef stock cubes

1 teaspoon unsweetened Cocoa

1 teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 teaspoon Ground Coriander

1/2 teaspoon Smoky Paprika

1 1/2 cups water

To serve:

A handful snow peas or green beans, topped and tailed

A couple of stalks of fresh coriander

Then just:

Spray a large frypan or wok with the cooking spray and heat over a medium-hot hotplate.

Once hot, add your diced onions, stirring for a minute or two until they turn translucent. Add your mince to the pan.Break it up with a spoon and brown it well.

Remove the pan from the hotplate, and drain the liquids and fat carefully. Return it to the heat.

Add all of the other ingredients except for the snow peas and fresh coriander. Don't be frightened of the cocoa. It adds colour and a depth of flavour in much the same way as fish sauce to Thai food, or anchovies to Italian. It won't make your chilli taste like chocolate, I promise! Just make sure it's unsweetened cocoa, and not drinking chocolate.

Stir well to combine, and reduce the heat to very low. Allow the chilli con carne to simmer, until most of the liquid has disappeared. Stir regularly to prevent it sticking to the pan.

Taste test and add salt and pepper if you wish.

Serve in bowls, garnished with the Snow Peas or Green Beans.

Absolutely delicious and a real taste of Spring.


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