Chile con carne is one of my favorite cold weather dishes. Over the years, I came up with the following recipe, that became my go-to recipe, but even this one keeps evolving.My version is not quite the authentic Texan one. I prefer to use chopped meat rather than cubed meat, and to add ingredients that are inspired by the wonderful Mexican Mole sauce. I love the addition of beans and tomatoes, which in many purist versions are strictly forbidden. I also like to finish the cooking with the addition of a bit of golden Tequila and to sprinkle it with fresh oregano and a squeeze of lime, to add freshness and cut down the heaviness of the dish.
One thing I’ve changed this time was the use of beer instead of my usual red wine and beef stock. This was inspired by THIS RECIPE from a wonderful blog that I’m sure you’ll enjoy visiting. I liked the slight bitterness the beer added to the dish, and will definitely use it again. Two other recipes that I’ve found inspiring can be found HERE and HERE.
Whichever version you may choose, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this wonderful and complex dish.
* Meat: as with any ground meats, I recommend grinding/chopping it at home. This way you have full control over the freshness and type of meat you’re using. You can also cube the meat if you prefer. Besides beef, another good option I sometimes use is Bison meat, but it is not always easy to find.
Mexican chocolate: this is not the kind of chocolate to enjoy eating on its own, as it is quite granular and contains coarsely ground roasted cocoa nibs, sugar, nuts and spices. It can be found in many supermarkets or online.
Adobo Chipotle peppers: Chipotle peppers are smoked and dried jalapeno peppers, that need to be soaked prior to using. Using chipotle in adobo sauce makes for quicker preparation, while adding tangy-sweet flavors from the sauce.
Green chilies: I’ve used peeled and marinated jalapeno peppers, but fresh ones can be used as well.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time:1½ hours
Chilling time (optional): overnight
1 Tbs coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 garlic clove
2 Tbs diced green chilies
½ cup chipotle chili in adobo sauce (see notes)
1 medium tomatillo, cut into quarters
2 Tbs fresh oregano leaves
1.35oz (40 grams) Mexican chocolate (see notes)
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cumin powder
½ cup packed fresh cilantro
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb (450 grams) roughly chopped beef chuck, preferably grass-fed (see notes)
1 can (15.5/440 grams) red kidney beans, drained and washed
1 cup diced tomatoes (1/2 can or fresh)
1 cup pale lager beer (or red wine, or beef stock)
2 Tbs almond meal
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs Tequila Gold (optional)
For serving: (optional)
Salsa Verde (see recipe HERE)
Grated aged cheddar cheese
Fresh oregano leaves
1. In a small food processor with the metal blade, place the cumin seeds, garlic, green chilies, chipotle chili, tomatillo and fresh oregano leaves. Process for a minute and add the Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, cumin powder and cilantro. Process again to a rustic mixture.
2. In a large wide pot, mix the onion with the oil, salt, pepper and cayenne. Sauté over medium-high heat, until the onion is golden. Mix and add the chopped meat. Fry, while mixing to break the lumps, for 5-6 minutes, until the meat browns nicely. Add the chili-chocolate mixture and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes and lower the heat to medium.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes, kidney beans and beer. Mix and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, mixing occasionally. Add the almond meal, mix, cover the pot and lower the heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Uncover the pot and cook for 30 minutes longer, mixing occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
The dish can be served at this point, but for even better taste, bring it to room temperature, cover and place it in the fridge overnight. Reheat gently the following day. Mix in the lime juice and Tequila, if using, just before serving.
Serve as is, or with the condiments on the side.