Chili Con Carne

“I’ve just returned from doing ten days of cooking demos in Townsville.  I had to do four recipes a day that the audience could try then replicate with basic ingredients.  I made this chili con carne several times and got a great reaction from everyone who tried it.  It’s pretty much a staple in our house which is used in tacos and nachos and in a ridiculous mix of cultures even when making lasagne or cannelloni.  This recipe makes a huge amount that I cook up in my slow-cooker then freeze for later.  For a more modest amount just halve the recipe.  The amount of chili is to my taste but feel free to add or subtract the spices to your own palette. Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 2 brown onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 500g bacon
  • 1.5kg lean beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 140g tomato paste
  • 4 heaped tbsn sambal oelek (or chopped chillies)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 x 40g tins tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans
  • 500g mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Dice onions and fry off in a hot pan with some oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the finely chopped garlic and chopped bacon and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beef and pork mince and cook for 15 minutes, making sure to break up with the back of a spoon.
  4. When all the meat is cooked through add the tomato paste, sambal oelek, chili powder and cumin and stir to combine.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer on a low heat for at least an hour.
    (I usually let the mixture cook in a slow-cooker for up to three hours.)
  6. A few times during the cooking process use a large spoon to remove any fat that has risen to the top.
  7. Serve with corn chips, guacamole, re-fried beans, sour cream and jalapenos.

Roast Potato Salad

“From the first time I tasted potato salad I didn’t like it!  Probably because it was that homogenous gloop that you buy from the supermarket that was just a big stodgy mess without much flavour or texture.  But since I’ve started catering I’ve found that I have to make a potato salad every now and them.  This is where this recipe springs from.  Instead of boiling the potatoes I roast them along with sweet potato and add lots of fresh ingredients to the mix that add to the flavour and nuts to give it a nice crunch.  I haven’t bothered with definite weights in this recipe so you can mix and match to your own tastes.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peanut oil
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Cashew nuts
  • Spring onions
  • Fresh coriander
  • Sour cream
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Peel the potato and sweet potato and cut into 1cm cubes.  Coat with a small amount of peanut oil and place on some baking paper on an oven tray.  Sprinkle with some salt.
  2. Bake in a 200 degree c oven for 45-60 minutes turning at least once until the potatoes are cooked through and start to turn golden brown.
  3. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  4. Hard boil some eggs and set aside to cool.  Cut into quarters.
  5. Finely slice the spring onion and set aside.
  6. Finely slice the fresh coriander and set aside.
  7. Cut some bacon into strips and fry until cooked.  Remove from the pan to cool.
  8. For the non-health-conscious out there, pour some sour cream into the warm bacon pan (off the heat) and stir to pick up the salty flavour of the bacon.  Add salt and pepper to taste and a small amount of lemon zest.
  9. … or warm the sour cream in a clean pan and season with salt, pepper and lemon zest. (warming the cream makes it thinner and easier to season and stir through the dish.)
  10. Place the potato and sweet potato in a bowl and dress with the sour cream mixture.
  11. Add the spring onions, eggs, bacon and cashew nuts.
  12. Finally, stir through the fresh coriander.
  13. I find this dish is best served at room temperature but is great fried up for breakfast the following day if there’s any left!