Thursday, February 7, 2019

It's Chilli Con Carne on a Rainy day

Hello everyone from the wet North. I am thinking of hot and spicy foods as the weather is still quite cool with the rain bucketing down, as the Monsoonal trough still hovers over us. No complaints though, as we aren't suffering from flooding on the same scale that Townsville is. My heart goes out to them. Chilli Con Carne is nothing new as a main meal dish, and is still popular in most households. It has stood the test of time, as has other Mexican food. After all the Christmas foods we consumed, I needed something spicy to eat but also simple to make. I didn't cook this when little Hugo, our two and a half year old grandson was here as I thought it might be too spicy for him, and his Mother is French and doesn't like spicy foods, so I was really looking forward to the earthy spiciness of this dish for a change.

I thought I had all of the essential ingredients in my pantry, as I always have cans of tomatoes, kidney beans, paprika, mince etc.  I was ready to start cooking, and when I opened my pantry I discovered that there wasn't a single can of tomatoes on the shelf. Don't you just groan when that happens?  Then it dawned on me that my no. 1 son had made a delicious huge pot of pasta sauce when they were here, and the tomatoes hadn't been replenished. Has this ever happened to you? No complaints from me though as I love it when my children start cooking in the kitchen when they are visiting.

Out of this situation however came some improvisation and a good idea, as I spotted the jars of tomato passata I had made four years ago and hadn't been used up yet. Miraculously the contents of the large jar I opened were still perfect and the flavour had mellowed beautifully. I remembered that I had made this passata when I had kilos of beautiful Bowen Roma tomatoes, and my passata was a variation of my tomato relish recipe, and a little experimental at the time. So I used the passata instead of canned tomatoes and also used a sachet of bought tomato paste for a little more acidity and flavour and the result was delicious. Mr. HRK loved it. Not too hot but earthy  and perfectly spicy, just how we like it and with a lot of flavour. You can find my tomato passata recipe here.

All of those jars of homemade preserves, relishes, and pickles etc never go astray and can be the vital addition to a meal, and they last a long time if everything is very clean and sterilised to start with. However in this recipe for Chilli con Carne, you can just substitute canned tomatoes for the passata.


750g lean beef mince
125 g chopped bacon
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium brown onions, chopped finely
2 red capsicums
1 cayenne chilli (the long red one)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 tablespoons Mexican chilli powder (depending on how hot you like it)
1 large bottle of passata and 1 sachet of tomato paste (or 800g can chopped tomatoes)
1 cup of water
400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Sour cream, shredded lettuce, chopped avocado and chopped tomato for serving.


Fry the bacon in the olive oil over a moderate heat until crisp. Add the mince and onions, stirring with a spoon to break up the mince until it is browned, about 15 minutes.

Add the capsicums,  and chopped chilli. Cook until the vegetables are soft and then add the chilli powder. Stir this for a further minute or so until the you can smell the fragrance of the chilli powder.

Add the tomato passata, tomato paste, or can of tomatoes and 1 cup of cold water. Bring this to the boil and return to a simmer.

Continue to cook the pot on a low heat until the sauce has thickened and liquid has reduced.

Serve the chilli with rice and whatever toppings you enjoy. I love it with sour cream, and chopped lettuce and tomato and avocado if I have them. I also like to spoon a little of my Sweet Chilli Jam over the sour cream. YUM!

Enjoy and thanks for dropping by.

Warm wishes,



  1. Oh yum! I love chilli con carne! I learnt to make it in my teens when I had it at a friends house. Yours looks fantastic. Yes, Townsville is in dire straits, for certain. We certainly don't want anymore rain. Here we've had over 3 metres since the week before Christmas. xx

    1. Nice to hear from you and I hope things improve for you up there. Still raining in Mackay off and on. Cheers, Pauline

  2. This looks delicious Pauline.
    I've never had chilli con carne.

    1. Thanks Nil, it's so easy to make and delicious. Cheers, Pauline

  3. Pauline, that's pretty well the same recipe I use minus the chilli powder. It is made quite often around here as it is reasonably quick and easy to make. The flooding in the north including the north west has been incredibly sad to watch on TV. So many people are suffering at the moment not to mention the number of cattle etc. that have been drowned in the deluge.

  4. Yes I know it has just been dreadful, so sad to see those cattle, and they won't recover for a long time unfortunately. Thanks Chel.

  5. that's funny. we too made a big pot of chilli the other day when it was a bit greyer than usual. we actually had a bit of rain the other night which was fabulous. our niece in townsville had water to knee height under their house but at least their house was ok. i always put my preserves etc in the fridge even after i sterilise the jars in the oven. QLD and all .... cheers sherry

  6. I wouldn't have room in my frig for all of my unopened bottles, and I have two refrigerators:) Just hope for the best. Glad your niece has come through it ok. Thanks Sherry

  7. Haha so today I spent 10 minutes looking for a bag of pasta that I had bought before I went today! I couldn't find it and then Mr NQN said that he had cooked it!

    1. Looks like it happens to the best of us Lorraine.I am learning to now check that I have every item before I plan to cook something:) Thanks Lorraine


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