I’ve always thought Chili Con Carne was Mexican, but today my assumptions were challenged…
I dug out my Thomasina Miers cookbook called ‘Mexican food made easy’ and as the title suggests it contains a whole lot of Mexican recipes. In my family we eat Mexican often – but I suppose it’s a New Zealand take on Mexican. I haven’t been there yet, so I don’t really have much of an idea of what’s authentic. So when Thomasina writes that chili con carne is not Mexican, I’ll take her word on it. Wherever it comes from, Texas, Spain, somewhere else entirely… it’s damn good! (And the recipe is IN a Mexican book – so there must be some influence?)
The recipe uses stewing steak rather than minced beef, along with a whole lot of spices, kidney beans, and a few different kinds of chili, which then gets cooked in a very low oven basically for as long as you can control yourself from eating it – then, when you can’t wait any longer you take it out and serve it on rice, with a simple salsa and a squeeze of lime.
As you can imagine, after all that slow cooking (6 hours!) the meat is falling apart, the sauce has thickened beautifully and there is a real depth of flavour.
But… what does it taste like in Mexico? When recipes demand specific types of chili I always feel a bit peeved – here in New Zealand it’s hard to get any kind of chili other than just your garden variety, run-of-the-mill chili (every now and then I manage to find chipotle and can barely contain my excitement) so I can’t help but wonder how that effects the finished product. Right now though, with a stomach full of delicious hot chili, it doesn’t bother me all that much.