Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chilli con Carne in the SC followed by Chocolate, Raspberry, Meringue Semi-freddo

Last night I had 5 lovely people over for dinner. The menu was Chilli con Carne served with corn chips, avocado and lots of sour cream. Followed by dessert of semi-freddo (a soft icecream, literally translates as half-frozen) with chocolate, raspberries and meringues - we all had seconds!

Yesterday was a work day, so I nicked home at lunch and put dinner on in the slow cooker; an enormous pot of Chilli con Carne - I filled my 6.5L slow cooker pot! Its not traditional but I like to include vegetables in the chilli, because who really wants to eat them on the side, except avocado of course, they cook down and you dont notice them. I have given you a recipe for half of what I cooked because that is well and truly enough for a family. But you can do what I did and cook double, feed 7 adults and 2 children and still have dinner for another night in the freezer. My kids love this without the chilli, particularly because they get to have chips for dinner!

When I got home from work I quickly whipped up the semi-freddo. I got it in the freezer at about 6pm and it was perfectly almost frozen at 8:30 when we wanted to eat it. If you prepare it earlier in the day, just put it in the fridge to soften awhile before you want to eat.

Chilli con Carne with Hidden Vegetables

I have given instructions for the slow cooker and the stove top. This reheats well and freezes well - a versatile meal as the accompaniments are easy!

1 tbsp olive oil
800g beef mince

1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch ground cardamom
1 red capsicum, seeded and finely diced
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
1/2 sweet potato, diced
600g canned chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp cocoa
400g canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup water (if cooking on the stove)
To serve
corn chips
cheese, grated
avocado, mushed
sour cream
jalapenos in a jar
corn on the cob is nice if you want more vegies

Heat half the oil in a large frypan and break up half or all of the mince beef into the pan, keep stirring it and breaking it apart as the meat browns, I use two wooden spatulas at once to do this. Depending how big your frypan is, it is probably easier to do the mince in two batches. When just browned but not all cooked, scrape into the slow cooker or onto a plate.

Heat the remaining oil in the frypan and fry the onion and garlic until it begins to soften. Add the coriander, cumin, and crushed cardamom pods and stir well. You can add the chilli now, not at all or at the end after you have taken out the childrens serves. Add the capsicum, zucchini and carrot and cook until softened.

Slow Cooker
Add the vegie mix to the slow cooker. Add the sweet potato, chopped tomatoes, ketchup, tomato paste, kidney beans and cocoa stirring to make a rich red sauce. Turn on low for 8 hours or high for 4.

If you don't have a really big frypan with high sides you will need to change to a bigger pot now. Add the beef back into the vegies. Add the sweet potato, chopped tomatoes, ketchup, tomato paste, kidney beans, cocoa and water stirring to make a rich red sauce. Simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 hours. At this point you can cool and freeze the chilli, or just keep it in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve
Put the chips in a flat oven proof dish and sprinkle with cheese and jalapenos (or just on half to keep everyone happy) and cook in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Put everything on the table and let everyone help themselves!

Chocolate, Raspberry and Meringue Semi-freddo
This recipe is inspired from one by Jamie Oliver. You can really add any flavourings you like - use your imagination. The meringues give it a really great texture!
Serves 6f

(sorry I forgot to take a picture before we devoured it!)
5 eggs

2 tbsp sugar
500 ml cream
100g chocolate, grated OR 1 lg packet Maltesers, bashed until broken
3 handfuls meringues, broken into large pieces
2 handfuls raspberries, fresh or frozen, chopped

Separate the eggs. Whisk the whites until they form very stiff peaks Whisk the yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy.

In another bowl, whip the cream until soft. Now add the chocolate/Maltesers, meringues, raspberries, egg whites and yolks to the cream. Gently fold in until everything is mixed together. Put it into a flattish dish or container and freeze for about 2 hours - by this time it will be semi-frozen.

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