Chilli con carne - By Gabriel Fantelli
Beans are a great source of complex carbohydrates. They have been used in cooking for many years all over the world as they are tasty and also versatile in their use. They also contain a high level of protein, folic acid and iron. Beans have good levels of fibre, with around 230gm of cooked beans containing around 9/13gm of fibre, and soluble fibre, which can help lower cholesterol.
Unfortunately good things often have a darker side. Most beans contain a kind of sugar molecule which we cannot digest in the “usual” way because our digestive system lacks the appropriate enzyme able to do so. That means these molecules are digested by bacteria present in our large intestine and this process produces flatulent gases. Many believe that cooking beans with anise seeds, cumin or coriander seeds can help prevent, or at least alleviate, this unpleasant side-effect. Also soaking beans in water for a few hours or add a little vinegar after cooking is believed to do the trick.
This version of chilli has all the goodness of two kind of beans, proteins from the beef lots of vegetables and can be eaten on its own, with some crusty or flat bread, with rice, sour cream, nachos.
2 onions (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
2 medium carrots (finely chopped)
1 celery stick (finely chopped)
1 red pepper (finely chopped)
1 kg beef mince
200ml red wine
2 cans chopped tomatoes (800gm in total)
3 tsp dried chilli flakes (or as much as you like)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
400gm can red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
400gm can cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
Small handful of parsley (roughly chopped)
Small handful of coriander (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid and fry gently the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and pepper until soft. Increase the heat and add the meat, herbs, chilli flakes and bay leaf. Cook for about 3/4 minutes until the meat is browned (break down any meat chunks). Pour in the red wine and let it boil for about 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the water, bring to a simmer, put the lid on and cook gently for about an hour stirring occasionally. Add the beans and cook without the lid for another 20 minutes or until the mixture reaches the desired thickness.
Remove from the heat, check for seasoning and serve hot.
Preparation time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 1hour 35min approx.