HOLEYBALONEY

Chili Con Carne

I love Chili con Carne. It’s my kind of comfort food, especially with some sour cream, shredded cheese and a hint of tabasco.

When I do make Chili, I usually make a large pot, and usually for parties. This is the reason the recipe below is for a large portion. What I have done is to write the recipe in a way that should be easy to break down into smaller portions, or expanded. The general portioning is 500g of meat to 1 cans / cups of diced tomatoes, kidney beans, sweet onions, bell peppers.

The one thing to note though, is don’t go for lean meat. The fats in the ground beef will drain off as you cook so you need the extra fat in the ground beef to keep the meat moist and juicy. Reduce the amount of oil that you use during the sweating of the onions to tone the fat content down. This dish needs to stew for many hours to really let all the flavours mesh.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg ground beef
  • 500g ground pork
  • 3 cans of diced tomatoes
  • Fresh tomatoes, diced (optional)
  • 3 cans of kidney beans
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped shallots
  • 3 cups of diced sweet onions
  • 3 cups of diced green red peppers
  • Small can of tomato paste
  • Ground thyme
  • Ground cumin / cumin seeds
  • Chili powder / paprika
  • Salt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)

 

Cooking Method:

  1. Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Ingredients that are cold will not release their full flavour.
  2. Marinate pork with some thyme; and beef with cumin. Refrain from putting too much dry herbs during the marinate process. Probably about 1 round teaspoon per 500g. You can add more later as well.
  3. Pour a teaspoon of olive oil in a hot cast iron pot. Do not let the oil start to smoke as that means it is too hot.
  4. Add the shallots and onions and turn the heat down to medium. Stir the onions slightly and ensure they are spread out in the pot. Let it sweat for a few minutes, stirring it occasionally.
  5. Add the garlic now.
  6. When the onions begin to turn translucent, scoop everything on to a plate.
  7. Turn up the heat and add the beef and pork into the same pot. Break apart all chunks to uniformed, mince-sized bits. I like my chili with a bit of a roasted taste so I like to leave the meat to brown in the pot without stirring too often. However, if you are a bit worried about possibly burning the meat, stir it often.
  8. While the meat is still browning, around the halfway mark, tip the  bell peppers into the pot.
  9. When the meat is no longer pinkish, add the onions back into the pot. At this time, every time you add something into the pot, you need to stir it to ensure even mixture.
  10. Add diced fresh tomatoes. (optional)
  11. Add canned diced tomatoes.
  12. Add half a can of tomato paste into a little hot water and mix it up well. Then pour it into the pot.
  13. Add 3 tablespoons of chili powder / paprika. (Adjust to own taste)
  14. Stir the mixture well and bring it to a boil.
  15. Once the chili is boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. Leave the pot uncovered.
  16. Let it simmer for ~3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  17. Every 30 – 45 mins, try the chili for taste. Only start adjusting for taste in the last hour.
  18. At the last 45 mins, drain the kidney beans and add it to the pot. Mix well.
  19. 30 – 45 mins after adding the kidney beans, turn off the heat and cover pot.

For serving options, I sometimes eat it plain with some tabasco sauce, or with white rice. It goes really well at parties too, just scoop it up with nachos / tortilla chips. Eat it with sour cream (or greek yogurt for the health conscious) and shredded cheddar cheese. Or you can add it on fries, tacos, pita bread…… The possibilities of chili is endless, which is why I love it!

You can just portion it out in ziploc bags or containers and freeze them. It can last a few days and all you need to do is to warm it up! It actually tastes better the next day!

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Pho Hoa

Now that I’m back working in Suntec, there’re some lunch joints that I quite liked that I can go again. One of it is Pho Hoa. It’s simple & casual Vietnamese noodles, Pho.

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And it’s Healthy! Relatively healthy I mean. It has no MSG (at least I don’t get thirsty after a meal here) and it really does serve tasty stuff.

This is a selection of your normal Pho. Nothing fancy, just simple steak, brisket & meat balls combination. This time round, I ordered the Pho Tai Bo Vien, or the steak & meat balls combi.

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While waiting for my order, I read a book. =) My Vivienne Westwood wallet has been complaining that she has no screen time on my blog so here it is.. Hope she’s satisfied.

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Decor at the place is really very simple, but because it’s got large windows, it’s nice and bright, which is a trait I like when I eat. I prefer to see what I’m eating thank you very much.

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Look closely and you can see the steam from the soup. I love hot soup especially when you’ve spent half the day in a freezing cold office. Always a huge welcome. I also like that they have kept the steak half-raw, because the hot soup will cook the meat just nice in no time. Giving fully cooked meat with the soup would make it overcooked by the time we actually eat it.

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Close up of the soup. Look at the steam! And the thinly sliced beef! The meat balls are quite big too!

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The real good stuff is this side plate, where there are bean sprouts and chili. I love the chili paste. It’s not too spicy yet gives a real good flavour to the meat. The chopped chili has too many seeds though. Small complaint there. And because I LOVE BEANSPROUTS!!! (Okay I know I’m a little whacked) So I requested for more beansprouts and my noodle turned out like this:

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Where’s the main dish? Haha.

There’s another dish I really like here, which is the Carrot Beef Stew. The stew is thick and the beef chunks are tender and just nicely cooked. You could get the stew with bread or pho. I’ll take pictures the next time I visit Pho Hoa!

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