Feb 2, 2009

Kay’s Chili Con Carne

Spur of the moment posting! It wasn’t until after I already chopped the bell peppers, chili pepper and onion that I spontaneously decided to grab my camera and turn it into a quick photo posting. The photos aren’t great because, well, I was in a hurry (dinner time) and didn’t have time for a proper set up, but you’ll get the idea!

This is really simple and basic food—the type of food that pops up at our dinner table on a regular basis. But in all honesty; it’s the kind of food I like best.

If you don’t like spicy foods, you can tone it down by leaving out the chili pepper.


1 pound ground beef
1 can tomato paste (5 oz)
2 tbsp chili seasoning
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 large garlic clove
1 can brown beans (15 oz)
1 chili pepper
1 small can corn
2 bell peppers
1 large onion
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cocoa


The winter has been so long and cold this year. I’m starting to long for those sunshine filled days at the park again. It’ll be the last summer my munchkin and I can go to the park whenever we feel like it—he’ll start school next year. Not looking forward to it at all. The house will be so empty.

Winter weather does make for some nice hearty stews and other dishes, like my Dutch winter stew. Chili con carne is also one of those typical winter dishes for me.

I’ve washed and cut up 2 bell peppers. Still had half a yellow and half a red pepper in the fridge. Combined with the green pepper it made me feel like I was in Jamaica! Ya man! I’ve also coarsely chopped up a large onion, grated a large garlic clove and chopped a (de-seeded) chili pepper.

I’m cheating; using pre-seasoned ground beef that my butcher shop sells. Shortcuts are always good! Normally I would have seasoned the meat with 1 tsp salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and 1/4 tsp curry & paprika powder.

Heat 1 tbsp oil and add the meat. Not for too long; just until it loses its redness. It doesn’t have to be browned. If there’s a lot of fat lurking at the bottom, drain at least some of it. Your hips and arteries will thank you.

Add the bell peppers, onions, chili pepper and garlic at the same time. If you don’t like really spicy food or your seasoning mix is hot enough for you, just omit the chili pepper. If you like it really spicy, be brave and leave the seeds in.

Cook over low heat until the onions are translucent. It really does look cheerful, doesn’t it!

I have to be careful now. I have two different types of chili seasoning; a Mexican flavored type of seasoning and one so spicy it’ll make you choke, cough and weep at the same time. I’ve used the wrong jar once; it was traumatizing! Having a toddler who does like spicy foods, I’m still opting for just the Mexican flavor so I double check the spice jars :)

I’ve actually made the mexican blend myself on several occasions, but I really do prefer store bought. Odd, I know.

Once your onions are translucent, add 2 tbsp chili seasoning, the tomato paste (I’ve used a 5 oz can), 2 tsp oregano, 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar and 2 tbsp vinegar. This creates a great balance. Give everything a good stir and cook for about a minute to neutralize the tomato paste.

I’ve added 1 tsp salt. I always start with 1/2 a tsp and see how it tastes before adding more, 1 tsp is often the right amount for me.

Now this is the difference between a good chili con carne and a great chili con carne. Cocoa powder. It gives the dish a richness you won’t believe, without making it taste like chocolate. Add the cocoa powder per 1/2 a tsp and stir well to prevent it from clumping. If the idea of cocoa powder in your chili freaks you out, go for 1 tsp first!

Stir in 1 1/2 cup of water, put the lid on and simmer, over low heat, for 15 minutes.

Drain your beans of choice. We love using a regular (15 oz) can of brown beans here, but use whatever you like. I always add a small can of corn as well. Simply love the sweetness and crispiness the corn adds. It also takes on the flavor of the dish, so it completely blends in.

After the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, you only have to check the seasoning and add the beans & corn. Simmer for another 10 minutes. The light over my stove is bad, bad, bad for photos.

This is such a simple but hearty meal. You can eat it as is, serve it with cornbread or rice. Other thing you can do is be a freak like me and eat it with mashed potatoes!


       – Kayotic Kitchen Recipe Card –

        Click here for printable size.