When I was a kid, we definitely had certain food associated with certain days. Fish and chips or Cranzgots pizzas were for Friday afternoons. Fondues were for a treat on Friday nights (come on, it was the 1970s!). Saturday afternoons, depending on the season, were for corn on the cob; omelettes with garlic bread; or a buffet of cold fish dishes like rollmops, sardines and pickled fish. Saturday nights were for chicken sosaties. Sunday mornings were croissants for breakfast. Sunday afternoons were for roasts. And Sunday nights were for soup.
I have always maintained that one of the benefits of being a grown-up is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. If I want croissants for breakfast on a Wednesday morning, or a fondue on a school night… who’s going to stop me?? Even so, I find that we still have certain food that we associated with certain nights. For example, we will seldom have a chicken stir-fry over a weekend, and we are unlikely to have a pizza on a weeknight. Sunday remains soup night, and Saturdays remain corn on the cob days. But we also have a couple of new “traditions”. Curry is almost always reserved for chilly Friday nights. That is, if we’re not having chille con carne!
There is something deeply satisfying about this dish, but the speed and ease with which you can make it mean it’s perfect for a friday night when you want something healthier than curry or pizza, but still rib-stickingly good. I was never interested in chilli con carne – the mere mention of chilli in the title put me off. That is, until we had some at Nick’s godparents’ place and I realised that if I was making it, I had full control of the spiciness! The fact that I have come to love beans in pretty much any form also helped 😉 On the topic of the beans, if you think ahead a little, soak the beans when you leave for work in the morning and they should be perfect to cook by dinnertime. the dried beans certainly have a better texture than tinned ones, but if you are pushed for time, the tinned ones work just fine. I use red kidney beans, but you can use whichever take your fancy.
So if you unexpectedly follow me or Nick home on a Friday night hoping for a meal, there is a good chance that I will have the wherewithal in the house to throw this together, and it certainly would feed a couple of hungry guests.
QUICK CHILLI CON CARNE (serves 4-6)
500g lean mince (I use pork or turkey, but beef is also good)
2 cups dried red kidney beans (or beans of your choice)
1 tin chopped tomatoes with juice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp dried cilantro/coriander leaf
2 Tbsp tomato concentrate paste
sunflower oil for frying
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 Tbsp chipotle ketchup
1 tsp sugar
If using dried beans, place the beans in a large pot in the morning before work and cover with plenty of water. Discard any beans that float. Soak for 10 hours, then discard the soaking water. Re-fill the pot with clean water and bring to the boil – do not add salt as this can make the beans tough. Simmer till tender (about 40 minutes) and drain.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large frying pan and sautee the chilli flakes, onion and garlic until the onion is translucent but not browning. Add the mince and continue to cook until the mince is browned and almost cooked.
Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and beans (if using tinned, just drain them well and add straight from the tin. Cook over medium heat until heated through and the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency. Stir in the cilantro, chipotle ketchup and salt & pepper to taste. Serve on brown rice.
The recipe also freezes well and can be batch cooked to defrost and enjoy later.
I am submitting this recipe to Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen who is hosting a BloggerAid event to raise awareness of world hunger. For those who don’t know, BloggerAid is a group of international food bloggers, convened by the lovely Val of More Than Burnt Toast, Ivy of Kopiaste and Giz herself. Check out Giz’s announcement for more details, but you’ll have to hurry as the deadline is 28 December!