Back in the day, when grander households than ours referred to this as “chilly con carny”, it was simply known by my parents as mince ‘n’ beans. Of course, this is simply an excuse to then eat vast amounts of cheese, sour cream and guacamole. (Which we certainly didn’t have when I was a kid.)
I’m fairly sure this is neither Mexican, nor even Texmexican, but it’s tasty.
Key ingredients, for this flavour, are the dried oregano and cumin. Go easy on the chilli, as you can always splash a bit of Tabasco over it later on.
In tonight’s batch I used:
- 300g beef mince
- two small onions, diced
- one red capsicum, diced
- four cloves garlic, peeled and sliced finely
- one 450g tin of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- one 450g tin of chopped tomatoes
- a teaspoon of…
- ground cumin
- dried oregano
- half a teaspoon of…
- dried chilli flakes
- dried thyme (maybe)
- you can also add some fresh coriander leaves at the end if you fancy
Start by browning the mince in a small amount of oil. If it ain’t brown, it’s grey, and grey ain’t right. A spot of salt and pepper will help it on its way.
Pop the mince in a holding bowl, add a bit more oil and fry the chilli flakes for about a minute, add the garlic, fry for another minute, add the ground cumin and fry for a slow count of ten, before chucking in the onion and capsicum, then stirring like crazy, to incorporate all the brown goo from the bottom of the pan into the dish. (If you’re using cumin seeds, add them at the same time as the garlic, so they get a good minute or so.)
The veg need to soften up, and get brown around the edges, so a good ten minutes of medium heat and the occasional stir are required – there’s nothing worse than crunchy capsicum in a dish like this. Boil the jug whilst you’re doing this. Once that’s done, return the mince, plus the tomatoes, the beans, and enough boiled water from the jug so everything’s almost submerged.
Stir in the herbs, bring to the boil, and then reduce to a gentle simmer and leave for an hour to reduce. An hour? That’s enough time to whip up some tortillas and have a couple of beers.