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.

Hummus Chicken

“After a weekend of catering three different events with three completely different and rather complicated menus I thought it would be good to post my favourite simple stand-by recipe.  I came up with this recipe years ago when I started making hummus from scratch (when I realised it’s so much better than the store-bought varieties!).  I needed a dish that I could prepare in the morning and throw into the oven when I got home.  It’s also really easy to modify by substituting different vegetables such and capsicum or eggplant.  I sometimes do it in small ramekins for a more formal occasion but usually I just bring it to the table in the baking dish and let everyone dig in!  It may not look pretty but the flavours are sensational!  Enjoy!”

Hummus Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g tins of chick peas
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp tahini paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat a small fry pan and add cumin seeds, stirring until they become fragrant.  Grind with a mortar and pestle until reduced to a powder.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add a small amount of water if it’s too thick and season to taste.

Hummus chicken ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 medium mushrooms
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 quantity of hummus
  • 850g chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare all your ingredients.  Finely slice potatoes (I use a mandolin on the thinnest setting).  Slice onion into rings. Slice mushrooms.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into 4mm strips.  Cut chicken thighs into quarters.
  2. Grease a baking dish and put a layer of potato and red onion at the bottom.
  3. Follow this with a layer of mushrooms and cover with the zucchini.
  4. Spread some of the hummus (about a cup) over the zucchini in an even layer.
  5. Spread the chicken on top and cover with another layer of hummus.
  6. Finish with a layer of potato, season with salt and pepper and some Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees c for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the topping is golden.
  8. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread to soak up the sauce and vegetables.

 

 

Healthy Stuffed Chicken Breast

“As part of my push to lose weight and get fit and healthy I’ve been redesigning some of my favourite recipes with less fattening ingredients.  Obviously I want to do this without losing the flavour hit that comes with high fat foods and cooking techniques so I can confuse my taste-buds into thinking they’re still being spoilt.   I have a recipe from my classical music range called “Nutcracker Chicken”.  It consists of a chicken breast that’s been filled with a combination of goats cheese, blue vein and pistachios, coated in macadamia and panko crumbs, then fried and baked.  I serve it with roast capsicum sauce, roast potatoes, asparagus spears and honeyed pine nuts.  YUM!  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!  …but for now here is a much healthier alternative that packs a huge amount of flavour in the sauce and chicken filling.  Enjoy!”

Stuffed chicken breast ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 8 mushrooms
  • 150g sun-dried tomatoes
  • Splash of white wine
  • zest and juice from half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 12 slices of prosciutto
  1. Clean the leek then quarter and dice.  Add to the pan with a small amount of olive oil.  Cook until leeks have softened slightly.
  2. Finely dice the garlic and add to the pan for a few minutes.
  3. Dice the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and add to the pan with the white wine.
  4. When liquid has reduced to almost nothing remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts and diced basil.  Set aside to cool.
  5. Cut a cavity in the chicken breast and put stuffing inside.
  6. Wrap 2 slices of prosciutto around chicken to keep the stuffing in and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  7. Heat a small amount of light olive oil in a pan and on medium heat cook the chicken on each side until prosciutto has cooked (about 1 minute per side)
  8. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees c or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Roast Tomato and Capsicum Sauce

  • 2 red capsicums
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Light olive oli
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis
  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove stem end.
  2. Cut capsicums into quarters and remove stem ends and seeds.
  3. Peel and quarter onion.
  4. Place all in a roasting dish and drizzle with light olive oil and some salt
  5. Roast for 30 minutes in a 220 degree c oven or until capsicum skins start to blacken.
  6. Let cool slightly and transfer to a blender adding the kecap manis.  Don’t throw out any of the remaining juices from the pan as you will use them later!
  7. Blend on high until smooth.  Season to taste. (If you want a smoother sauce pass the mixture through a drum sieve)

Vegetables

  • 4 carrots
  • 12 asparagus spears
  1. Peel and cut carrots into battens and transfer to the roasting dish you cooked the tomatoes in and coat with the juices.  Add a little more olive oil and salt in needed.
  2. Bake in a 200 degree c oven for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Cut asparagus into thirds and steam until cooked.

Plating up the dish

  1. Gently reheat the sauce and put a generous smear on the plate.
  2. Cut the chicken breast into 3 rounds and lay onto of the sauce (You can save the off-cuts for lunch tomorrow!)
  3. Put a pile of asparagus and carrots on the plate and garnish with 2 basil leaves.