Spiced up like a chili con carne

Wow! It’s almost the end of 2015. I can’t believe how fast the days are passing. I mean seriously, didn’t we just got back from the summer holidays?! I always have a tough time catching up from summer break and regrouping to real-life pace. I take my sweet time to peel out the past season and layer up for the next, and this year seems to be exceptionally even slower. But I think I’m getting back to the groove of things (well, I should be after some 3-month hiatus, right?).

It has been a nice and bountiful Christmas season. So many food fests and festivities full of very indulgent and rich dishes! My pants won’t certainly be feeling loose for a while. But we technically are still in the holiday wave, so I am cutting my tummy some slack. (Yeah, i know, regret will probably rear its ugly head soon.. 🙈 Before it does though, I’m happy to welcome some kitchen and dining adventures.)

So today’s foggy day called for a warm spicy pot of chili con carne!

I challenged myself to this rich and complex recipe, and with some tiny tweaks, we finally had a pot steaming with a lovely chili.

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Chili con Carne
Serves 4-8 persons (or two persons with reheated leftovers!)

6 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 white onion, diced
2 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1.5 tbsp whiskey
800 grams to a kilo ground beef
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
1 clove
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1-2 tbsp pepperoncini
12 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp black coffee
1 ¼ cups dark stout beer
1 square dark chocolate, shaved
2 bay leaves
400 grams crushed tomatoes
1 cup kidney beans, rinsed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup chicken/beef stock
sea salt, black pepper
scallions, sliced
fresh mint, chopped
greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Place the halved garlic in a small baking pan with a little olive oil and roast for 15 minutes, or until soft.

In a pot or cocotte, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and let sweat for a minute or two. Add the carrots and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes. Add the brown sugar, and then the whisky. Stir well making sure carrots and onions are covered with the sugar and whisky.

Add the ground beef and let it cook for a minute, then add the spices (cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne, nutmeg, dried thyme and clove), the mustard and the roasted garlic. Stir well. Add in the pepperoncini. Keep mixing to make sure the spices are well combined.

When the meat is cooked (do not overcook till it’s dry!), add the tomato paste, the balsamic vinegar, the coffee, the beer and the chocolate, and stir. Add the bay leaves.

Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, the kidney beans, the fresh thyme and the beef/chicken stock. Let it continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.

Serve the chili topped with scallions and mint with a side of greek yogurt. And don’t be shy to stick a sprig of thyme too as we apparently do chez nous! 😂

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We’re definitely looking forward to some leftover chili with nachos in the coming days! It’s one of those dishes that get better and better and way tastier when reheated. Yummy! Enjoy your chili days over the break! ✌︎

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