The classic ‘chilli con carne’ made with beans and minced beef is more of a Tex-Mex recipe. In Mexico, home cooks make carne con chilli for their families, using cubed beef or pork in a rich chilli sauce with or without tomatoes, with beans and or rice on the side. Serve this version with corn tortillas and any number of your favourite toppings.
- 50g/1¾oz dried guajillo chillies, seeds removed
- 4 large ripe tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, skin on
- 30g/1oz lard or 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1kg/2lb 4oz braising steak, cubed
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 4 allspice berries, bruised
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp chipotles en adobo
- 12–18 corn tortillas
For the toppings
- handful coriander, roughly chopped
- 200ml/7fl oz soured cream
- Lancashire cheese, crumbled
- 1 avocado, stone removed, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 radishes, finely sliced
Place a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and toast the chillies for 20 seconds, until fragrant but not burnt. Place them into a bowl and pour over 450ml/16fl oz boiling water to cover them. Leave to soak for 15–20 minutes.
In the same frying pan, dry fry the tomatoes and garlic until softened and charred. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel off and discard the garlic skins and quarter the tomatoes.
Heat a tablespoon of lard or oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown one third of the beef. Transfer to a plate and then repeat until all the beef has browned, adding another tablespoon of lard or oil as needed.
Add the remaining lard or oil to the pan and fry the onion for 3–4 minutes until softened. Add the cumin, oregano, allspice and bay leaf. Cook for 2 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
Place the soaked chilies and roughly 150ml/5fl oz of their soaking liquid into a food processor. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and chipotles en adobo and blend until as smooth as possible.
Tip the paste into the casserole dish. Add the browned beef and stir in the rest of the chilli soaking water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer on a low heat. Cover and cook in the oven for 1½–2 hours until the beef is tender. Check the water level a couple of times during cooking to make sure the meat doesn’t dry out. Add a little more liquid if necessary.
Warm the tortillas and serve the chilli with the toppings on the side. Add rice or beans if desired.