Sunday, 23 April 2017

Easy Chilli con Carne (with Pressure Cooker method)

Chilli con Carne is something most of us have been cooking for years, without even looking at a recipe book...

I know I have - probably for the best part of two decades. I already have one chilli con carne 'recipe' on my blog here from over three years ago, back in the early days - so it's somewhat detailed on the method and goes on a bit! Although it does use soaked chipotle chillies and tastes bloody gorgeous, so it's staying where it is!

Anyway, I digress. This one is much, much simpler, has pressure cooker instructions for those who have one, and tastes equally amazing!

It's a decent sized batch if you're catering for friends, or want to put a few portions in the freezer (which is what I always do!), but you can easily halve it. It tastes even better the next day, if you've got any left! Last time I made this, I made half the quantity for a family of four and it all got eaten in one sitting, so I decided not to make that mistake again!

Serves 10 to 12 portions, at 265 to 318 calories per serving (depending on size).

Want a low carb / low calorie meal? 
Serve on top of 200g cauliflower rice per person (76 calories a serving), or 50g rice per person (raw weight, 176 calories per serving) or serve in a couple of taco shells (e.g. Old El Paso boxed tacos, for 67 calories per taco, check ingredients for GF), or mini-tortillas (87 calories each, for a 28g flour tortilla, not suitable for  GF)... or you could even use lettuce leaves to wrap it in - whatever floats your boat! All of these suggestions will bring you in at under 500 calories quite comfortably.

What finally prompted me to simplify my chilli con carne recipe? Well, I confess, my daughter was supposed to be making it for her cookery lesson at school (she's 12). Although I was grateful that she was given recipes that weren't composed mainly of flour, sugar and butter for once (especially as she's coeliac) and were the kind of practical thing you could make for your dinner, I didn't want her to come back home feeling disappointed in what she had made at school again. Week one's stirfry was a bland disappointment. Week two's curry was a bland disappointment. Week three... well, you get the gist, and you can see the original recipe! 
So we adapted the ingredients of my chilli con carne recipe to her school recipe and method, so she could come home with the kind of chilli that she was used to eating at home and wouldn't feel disappointed in it, and voila...! I hope you enjoy it too, I've included instructions for the pressure cooker (I use an Instant Pot) to make it extra tender and tasty, and if you want to get your (older) kids to cook dinner for you... it's a pretty simple recipe overall if you get everything ready before you start!

If you're not counting calories, feel free to use more oil if you feel you need it, and whatever kind of beef mince (or small diced beef cut) you fancy.

  • 1kg lean minced (ground) beef steak* (organic if possible) [1,830 calories if 183 calories per 100g etc.]
  • 1 x 15ml tbsp oil [123]
  • 2 onions, diced (200g) [82]
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed [24]
  • 2 large red chillies, finely chopped, de-seeded if you prefer [14]
  • 2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin [16]
  • 1 small cinnamon stick (about 3 inches long)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano [4]
  • 4 tsp smoked (sweet/mild) paprika [24]
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (optional, I use two tsp for the best flavour) [16-32]
  • 1 beef stock cube, or 1.5 tbsp Knorr Touch of Taste Beef Boullion Concentrate (check gluten free if necessary) [20]
  • 350ml water
  • 3 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes [300]
  • 100g tomato puree [100]
  • 2 x 400g tin of kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or 480g cooked kidney beans) [504]
  • 4-6 squares good quality, dark chocolate (15-20g, optional - I used G & B's 85%) [106]
  • Salt to taste 
For a tasty, chunky twist!
Cut 3-4 de-seeded bell peppers into bite sized pieces (e.g. half red and half green) and fry in a hot pan in a little oil until just starting char in a few places (but not soggy). Set aside, then stir into the chilli about five minutes before it has finished cooking.

To serve
  • Greek yoghurt (e.g. Total - fat free/regular, not fr dairy free) [9/14 calories per tbsp]
  • Handful coriander leaves [2]

Other optional serving suggestions
  • Finely diced or sliced onion (yellow, or red, 41 calories per 100g)
  • Grated cheese (e.g. mature cheddar, 416 calories per 100g, not for dairy free)
  • Sour cream (195 calories per 100ml, not for dairy free)
  • Rice (50g dried weight is 176 calories)
  • Cauliflower rice (200g is 76 calories)
  • Taco shells (e.g. Old El Paso, boxed, 67 calories each - always check ingredients for gluten free)
  • Mini-tortillas (87 calories per 28g wrap - always check ingredients for gluten free even when called 'corn tortillas', as they often contain wheat in the UK)

1. Fry the onions in 1/2 tbsp of oil until softened and beginning to turn golden - I find a large, non-stick pan is easiest for this. Set aside (or put in pressure cooker, if using).

2. Brown the mince in the remaining 1/2 tbsp of oil - you might find it easiest to do this in two batches - for optimum flavour when you add it to the hot pan, leave it for a couple of minutes to brown, then turn over in one piece and do the same, before breaking up and cooking for a few minutes, until just about cooked through.

3. Add the finely chopped chilli, crushed garlic, bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon stick, oregano, smoked paprika, sugar (if using), 1 tsp salt, beef stock cube/concentrate, the fried onions and 350ml water, mix thoroughly and either cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally and adding a little more water if necessary, or if pressure cooking, cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, and natural release for 15 minutes.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and drained kidney beans and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until you are happy with the consistency (Instant Pot, turn onto saute to simmer).
5. Stir in the chocolate until melted, taste for seasoning, and add salt if necessary. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick and serve. Enjoy!

*Minced beef varies in fat and calorie content enormously, between different varieties and brands. If you're using very lean meat and cooking this on the hob, you may need to cook it longer in order for it to become tender. I used Sainsbury's Organic Beef Mince - Lean, which was 183 calories per 100g. General beef mince (not lean) is around 225-255 calories per 100g, and extra-lean minced beef is around 120-125 calories per 100g, so check the packaging if you're counting calories.

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