The Chilli Guru


It is important to distinguish between Chilli con Carne which is a Tex-Mex dish, and the true Mexican classic correctly known as Carne con Chilli.

Chilli con Carne

A dish of minced beef, red beans and chilli powder. Commercially, the powder used will not normally be derived from any particular variety of chilli, but the potential to use home made powders in domestic cooking should give the dish a richer, more complex flavour. Often served with boiled rice, but better with fresh crusty bread.

Carne con Chilli

Cubed stewing steak cooked with fresh or, more usually, rehydrated dried chillies. Definitely no beans; these should be served as a side dish. The choice of chillies will have a marked influence on the flavour of the dish, so it is worth experimenting with what you have available. Mulato, Havana Gold and Machu Pichu would all be suitable, although the last two could hardly be regarded as "authentic" as they are not Mexican, or even Capsicum annuum.

The ideal accompaniment would be a maize bread such as a tortilla, or even a maize porridge such as mieliepap or sadza. Alternatively, Asian supermarkets sell atta flour, which makes excellent chapatis.

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