Barcelona, Fresh Produce

Get Cosy with This Bowl of Chilli con Carne

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring! ♫♫♫

I think there’s a monsoon outside. I feel like I’m in Vietnam and not in Barcelona, it’s raining so much today and for some reason that nursery rhyme can’t get out of my head. I feel like a child trapped inside my home although I’m keeping it cosy listening to Otis Redding while I write this. I blame the rain. It makes me nostalgic and kind of soulful too.

Something that never fails to make me feel better when I’m gloomy and nostalgic is definitely comfort food. Oh yeah. For me, there are only but a few things better than getting cosy with a tasty bowl of food that just makes you feel amazing. Ramen soup is definitely number one on my list. When I was a kid it was probably one of the first foods I learned to ‘modify’. By “modifying” I mean adding soy sauce and scallions, by the way. Little by little as I grew up I learned how to make different versions (or modifications) of comforting dishes. This changed as I got older. When I was old enough to be left alone at home with my older brother, I had to make food for both of us, I’d modify Chef Boyardee’s raviolis by adding extra veg and cheese. Then when I was a teenager my dad only liked the spaghetti’s I made, which was a big deal ’cause it kind of offended my mom. After that, when my friends and I would have movie nights it was left to me to make mac and cheeses (I used to add like 4 kinds) for everyone. Anyway, I’m rambling.

This post isn’t completely about modifying dishes or recipes. It’s about the sense of comfort you get when you eat a bowl of happy. It can be a bowl of cereal first thing in the morning, half a sleep. Or if you’re an açai bowl kind of person, well that. That feeling of cosy you get inside on a cold, rainy day when you have a nice cup of tea and curl up with a book you happen to be obsessed with. That’s why I decided to make chilli. It’s something I’ve made before and when I have left overs I modify it into a hefty hangover cure breakfast. This time, I added corn and coffee.

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Something I really love about making a good ol’ pot of chilli is how much fresh produce preparation it needs. To this recipe, I added three kinds of peppers, carrots, tomatoes, corn, onions, lime, garlic, cilantro, parsley and avocados. And those were only the vegetables! It took me a while to prepare all of this but to be honest, this is what I love about cooking. It’s therapeutic to me to prepare each vegetable one by one and in a way transmit positive energy and love. I promise I won’t get weird here.

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So this is basically what you’ll need for a pot of chilli that will yield 7 to 8 people.

  • 400 gr of minced meat
  • 100gr bacon cut into pieces
  • 2 cans of 400gr of crushed tomatoes
  • 800gr of beans (they can be canned, preserved or freshly boiled, however you prefer)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 lime
  • 2 piquillo peppers (peeled)
  • 3 small bell peppers (red and green)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cobs of corn
  • 1 big spoonful of cumin
  • 1 big spoonful of cinnamon
  • 1 big spoonful of spicy chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • one large cup of black coffee
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful cilantro and parsley (combined)
  • rice to serve (to serve, optional)
  • 1 avocado (to serve, optional)
  • cheese of your preference, I used cheddar (to serve, optional)
  • natural greek yogurt (to serve)

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First step of preparation: get peeling and cutting! It’ll take you a while but it’s well worth it.

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After that, in a big bowl begin frying the bacon (without any added oil).

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Once it has released most of its own fat, add the onions and peppers.

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When they’re soft, add all the spices, peppers, corn and carrots. Mix well at high heat.

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After they’re well combined add the meat and cup of coffee. Once the meat has absorbed all of the liquid add the lime, tomato sauce and beans. Mixmixmix and mix well at medium heat. Now, here’s the trick of making lovely chilli: babysitting. One must babysit their pot of chilli for about an hour and a half (or even more) in order to have serious layers and developed flavours. Fear me not, you can go to the bathroom or check instagram every once in a while, but make completely sure you mix the pot at least twice every 5 to 10 minutes, if not it’ll stick and the consistency will be seriously off.

On the side of the chilli, you can feel free to make some rice to go with it, or get some nacho chips if you prefer. I made mixed brown and wild rice.

How do you know when your chilli is done? Once all of the vegetables are soft and all the liquid has boiled away, it’s most likely done. Don’t forget to taste and adjust flavours with salt and pepper. Here, it’s up to you.

Tastetastetaste and discover what you like and you enjoy.

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I hope this chilli gets you all cosy this fall and well into the winter! 🙂

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