A sniff of delicious things to come?

If you’re in a climate similar to mine, then you may also have noticed the exciting development of magnolia trees coming into flower. For me, they are the first flowers of hope.

I seriously struggle through early winter and as I’ve had numb feet for over 2 months now, I can’t tell you how excited I get by the sight of these trees in bloom. They mark the turning point don’t they? They come first, then there’s blossoms everywhere – jasmine flowers, daffodils and before we know it we’ve made it through yet another winter.

Vegie Smugglers chilli with no chilli recipe

Just time left for one last winter warmer!

But, in truth, there’s still a way to go yet, so while the cold weather lingers, let’s scent the air indoors with this fantastic chilli con carne. It’s an awesome slow cook that fills the air with yumminess. This version doesn’t actually have any ‘hot’ ingredients in it that might offend the kids, but the flavor is so delicious and enticing. And it’s another flexible dish, with a stacks of goodness hidden in the stew, then topped off with ingredients to tempt each individual (including chopped chilli on the adult’s servings).

The corn chips are another magic lure ingredient. I just crumble up one or two chips for each kid and they go a really long way. It’s a fun concession that helps the whole dish get gobbled up.

Chilli (with no chilli)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 kg chuck steak, trimmed, cut into 2–3cm cubes
20g butter
2 onions, diced
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp cumin powder
800g can chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
¼ cup red wine
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
2 tsp sugar
400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 green capsicum, seeded, finely diced

To serve:
Finely diced avocado
Finely diced tomato
Grated cheddar cheese
Corn chips
Chopped fresh or dried chilli

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Use paper towel to pat any moisture off the meat. Add the butter to the pan and when foaming, add the meat. Don’t overcrowd the pan; usually you will need to do this in two batches. Turn the meat and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Add a little more oil, if needed, and cook the onion and carrot for a couple of minutes over medium heat until softening. Add the garlic and cumin and stir for 30 seconds then add the tomatoes, stock, wine, herbs and sugar. Return the meat to the pan. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat right down. Cover and cook for 1½ hours, stirring every half hour or so.
Remove the lid, taste and season with salt and black pepper, then add the kidney beans and capsicum and simmer uncovered for another half hour. It will be cooked now, but if you have time, leave on a really gentle simmer for up to 3 hours.

Serve with avocado, tomato, cheddar and broken corn chips. Slices of sourdough are also delicious.

SERVES 2 ADULTS & 3 KIDS

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Karina Quinn said,

    Thanks for the recipe – a friend of mine just had a baby so I’ll be making this for her family and mine on Tuesday 🙂

  2. 2

    susie venkat said,

    Going back a way – Vegie Dots – can I freeze these? Before or after baking?


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