When cooking a variety of Italian cuisine with a bottle of pasta sauce, you could be forgiven for thinking that a pasta dish is the only type of food you can use it in. However, tomato pasta sauce is an incredibly versatile sauce that tastes absolutely incredible in a variety of different cuisines such as Mexican.
Whether you prefer cooking with garden vegetable pasta sauce, arrabbiata pasta sauce, tomato basil pasta sauce or tomato garlic pasta sauce with a hint of chili for an extra kick to your tastebuds, here is the best traditional chili con carne recipe to get your creative juices (and tastebuds) excited!
Traditional Texas chili con carne
Chili con carne (meaning ‘chili with meat’) is a traditional spicy stew that typically contains beef, onion, garlic, and chili powder made from ancho chilies. The exact origin of the dish is disputed, but many believe chili con carne originated in either southern Texas or northern Mexico.
Unlike many chili con carne recipes, the traditional Texas recipe actually doesn’t use any type of beans, however, you can choose to add in some kidney beans (or any other type of beans) if you prefer. You can also substitute the ancho chillies for birdseye chilli if you can’t find any and the beef chuck for minced beef.
What you’ll need for the chili powder:
- Garlic powder x ¼ teaspoon
- Cumin seeds x ½ teaspoon
- Dried ancho chillies (with stem and seeds removed) x 3
- Dried oregano x ½ teaspoon
What you’ll need for the chili:
- Smoked paprika x 2 teaspoons
- Grounded black pepper x 1 teaspoon
- Salt x ½ teaspoon
- Water x 1 cup
- Beef stock (unsalted) x 1 and ¾ cups
- Ancho chillies (with seeds and stem removed) x 2
- Garlic cloves (minced or diced) x 2 cloves
- Large onion (chopped) x 1 and ½
- Diced bacon (streaky or pancetta) x 220 grams
- Dried oregano x 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds x 2 tablespoons
- Extra virgin olive oil x 1 tablespoon
- Beef chuck (diced) x 1 kg – yep, you read that right!
- Tomato garlic pasta sauce x 1 jar
Method for making the chili powder:
- Put a skillet or frying pan on medium heat and add in the chilies. Cook while turning as needed for a few minutes until they are lightly toasted. Once they are done, put aside on a plate to cool.
- Add in the cumin seeds and toast for a couple of minutes until they are fragrant, then put aside on the same plate to cool.
- Now cut up the chilies into small strips. Using either a clean coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind them into a fine powder. Pour the powder into a bowl.
- Add in the toasted cumin seeds, garlic powder, and dried oregano and repeat the same process. Make sure the grounded powder has a very fine texture and is not course.
Method for making the chili:
- Grab a Dutch oven pot (or your largest stockpot if you don’t have one) and place over a medium heat. Add in the cumin seeds and toast for one minute or until they start to become fragrant.
- Transfer them into a grinder or mortar and pestle and crush them until they are course, then put aside.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil to the pot. When hot, add in the diced bacon and fry for five to eight minutes until it becomes crisp. Once cooked, transfer onto a paper towel and lightly pat down with another piece of paper towel to remove any excess oil.
- Now turn up the heat to high. In small batches to ensure everything cooks evenly, add in the diced beef chuck (or beef mince if you prefer) and cook for a few minutes until the meat has browned on all sides. Transfer onto a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion and garlic for four to five minutes.
- Add in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, paprika and pepper. Cook while stirring for one minute.
- Add in the water, beef, bacon, beef stock, chillies and tomato garlic pasta sauce. Give it a good stir.
- Turn the heat back to high and bring to a boil.
- Then turn the heat down to low and partially cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for two hours. Be sure to regularly check on it and add any extra water if needed.
- Once done, take out all the chillies and put into a blender. Purée until smooth and add back into the pot.
- Simmer for another few minutes while stirring and then serve. Bon Appétit!